Traffic Ticketed: Not a Fan of Bush “Informal Terminology”?

BUSHITAn Athens, Georgia woman received a traffic ticket estimated at $100 for displaying what an officer called “a lewd decal” when she was pulled over for having a bumper sticker that read “I’m tired of all the BUSHIT.” From Sploid:

The ticket is for $100 and under “offense” it says “Lewd decals.”

Georgia’s Supreme Court struck down a “lewd bumper sticker” law in 1991, after a defendant with a “Shit Happens” bumper sticker took the their case to court.

Even so, the DeKalb County Police Department had nothing to say about Grier’s ticket.

“We don’t comment on other officers’ tickets,” says Officer Herschel Grangent, who handles media affairs. “That officer is making his decision on the street. And it’s going through legal channels now.”

While I won’t bother to take sides on the the whole demonization of Bush thing that’s bound to come of this in the comments, I do want to point this out to our Bush apologist folks as an example of real curtailing and intimidation of freedom of speech that they proclaim that protestors have every right to. If anything, I would hope some right-wingers will see the hypocritical humor in all of this.

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…when they came for the gunowners, there was no one left to speak out.

Tom DeLay had his concealed carry permit rescinded because of his indictment. From Reuters:

Rep. Tom DeLay, once one of the most powerful figures in the U.S. Congress, wants his right to pack a pistol restored after the state of Texas revoked his permit following his indictment last year.

The former House Majority Leader’s licence to carry a concealed handgun was taken away after he was indicted on campaign finance charges, but he has appealed the revocation, DeLay spokeswoman Shannon Flaherty said on Tuesday.

She would not say whether DeLay, a “gun rights” advocate who spoke last year at the National Rifle Association annual convention in Houston, carries a gun.

“That’s the point of having a CHL (concealed handgun licence) in Texas — potential criminals should assume everyone is (carrying),” Flaherty said in an email.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Tela Mange said she could not disclose how long DeLay has had the gun permit, but that state law dictates it be revoked upon indictment on felony charges.

Normally, I’d be more than willing to stand up for DeLay’s constitutional rights. Considering DeLay’s actions which curtailed our constitutional rights on issues ranging from medical marijuana to the Patriot Act, I’m not at all sympethetic. Perhaps DeLay (and his Republican cronies) should read the famous Niemöller quotation from time to time.

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Former FEMA Head Michael Brown on Colbert Report

Michael Brown on Colbert ReportFor anyone who missed last night’s episode of the Colbert Report, Stephen has as a guest FEMA’s disgraced Michael Brown (link to torrent, interview starts at 13:20). I expected this douchebag to remain unapologetic and to keep up the spin that he was obviously competent, but just lacked the funds (right, because lack of money was why $100 million in ice was trucked all over the country). What I didn’t expect is how smug and smarmy this guy is in front of a camera, it’s baffling that he can just walk around saying he did his “dangdest” but boohoo for all them people because it’s someone else’s fault (the buck stops where?).

From the interview:

Stephen Colbert: Who is the person to blame? Because we have to blame one person. [audience laughter] Right? One person’s head has gotta roll… and yours won’t seem to lop off. [audience laughter] So… who is the one person we should blame? Do you blame Chertoff?
Michael Brown: I’d like to!
Colbert: Go ahead, let’s do it right here on this show.
Brown: Sure!
Colbert: Okay?! Well, why? Why is it Homeland Security’s problem?
Brown: Because Homeland Security has become too much of a bureaucracy, it’s too big, it’s not nimble, it can’t move fast enough. FEMA’s only 25 hundred people, we can move on a dime. [snaps fingers]
Colbert: And what dime were you standing on during the hurricane? [audience laughter]

And when pressed on his laughable credentials and cronyism:

Colbert: You were called a political crony… okay? Were you a political crony? [audience laughter] Crony just means friend, by the way.
Brown: Right, and I was a political appointee. So if an appointee is the same as a crony then i guess I was. But I went through the confirmation process, was approved by the Senate, um… had the experience for the job. [audience laughter] And just because my friend happened to be a friend of the president’s shouldn’t make me a crony.
Colbert: Now this experience for the job, are you talking about the horses? [audience laughter]
Brown: Well actually… yes.
Colbert: You are!
Brown: Yes.
Colbert: Horses can be a handful, right?
Brown: Horses asses can be an absolute handful, and that got me ready to work for Washington, work in Washington D.C.
Colbert: You got that criticism that you, ya know head of this Arabian Horse Guild or whatever it was called and now you’re running FEMA. Is that the truth?
Brown: That is the truth.
Colbert: So that’s your experience?
Brown: No that was just part of my experience. I have a 30-year career in public service. Part of which was serving for state and local governments doing emergency operation plans, building emergency operation centers and then serving as a lawyer for the Arabian Horse Association and then I came into FEMA as the attorney for FEMA. And then I worked my way up through the organization. The American way.

Brown’s “American way” must be to bullshit your way through life and take no responsibility for your failures later. I’m surprised Colbert didn’t call him on his bullshit straight to his face, as the interview is relatively tame and cordial.

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ATF Kids Drawings: “Put Down the Super-Soaker and Step Away From the Burning Church, Scumbag Branch Davidian”

Put Down the Super-Soaker and Step Away From the Burning Church, Scumbag Branch Davidian

I’m pretty sure we’re behind the curve on posting a link to the ATF (or BATFE, if you prefer) Kids drawings depicting what they think mommy and daddy do at work, but I can give you a hint that most kids aren’t all that interested in the alcohol or tobacco (some take a liking to the bureaucracy part).

Wonkette has some of the better ones on display, but the deafening silence is coming from another quarter… where the hell are the Something Awful forum goons when you need them? Maybe I’m just not looking hard enough?

In their void, perhaps some of our own witty commenters can provide captions for some of these great masterpieces of youthful government-warped minds. The playground is open… just hyperlink to your cartoon of choice in the comments with your own made-up caption.

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National Disgrace: Punishing Non-Plea Bargainers

kangaroo courtRadley Balko points out an interesting report in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette on a national rise of out-of-control prosecutors dumping charges upon charges on defendents in order to overwhelm them into plea bargains:

Nationally, for fiscal year 2004, 95.5 percent of the 51,666 convictions were reached through guilty pleas. That means that only 2,316 U.S. District Court cases across the country went to trial.

In the Western District of Pennsylvania, the percentage was just a bit lower. Of the 261 convictions that year, 94.3 percent were reached through pleas.

Mr. Kramer, who now teaches at Penn State University, believes the American court system has been acclimated to processing guilty pleas.

“We’ve created a barrier to any potential increase in jury trials,” he said. “If all of a sudden we had a 20 percent increase, it would be tremendously burdensome on the court system to accommodate those.”

[…]

“It’s a perfectly laughable system,” he said. “The prosecutors love it. The message is any sane defendant, guilty or innocent, ought to do the prosecutor’s bidding.”

To supplement this article, I found an older PBS interview with Yale professor of law and legal history John Langbein who puts it succinctly:

What is wrong with the plea bargain system in our courts today?

Plea bargaining is a system that is best described as one of condemnation without adjudication. It is a system that replaces trial, which is what our constitution intended, with deals.

Second, those deals are coerced. The prosecutor is basically forcing people to waive their rights to jury trial by threatening them with ever greater sanctions if they refuse to plead and instead demand the right to jury trial.

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Getting Satired with Style

How do you know when you’re making a difference in politics? When they start setting up satire sites about you. A bunch of them, in this case. Some mystery person just did that to Joel Montgomery (one of my recent candidates) and we wondered just who was behind it. Then we found they’d started sites for at least three (Valerie “Drabley” Abbott, Carol “Corporate Welfare” Reynolds, and Roderick “the Twerp” Royal“) more of the nine Birmingham City councilors.

They were pretty nice to me, providing only some bio information (so far):

Stephen Gordon – Political consultant, blogger, former employee of Ross Perot and Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Alabama; in his own words, Stephen Gordon’s “expertise was crucial in the re-election of Joel Montgomery to the City Council in Birmingham, AL.” Apparently, he also enjoys smoking the occasional cigar.

To be clear, those weren’t my words (I think Thomas Knapp did the latest edit of that bio which started years ago — and I won’t write my own bio) but it’s generally correct. Their cigar picture was certainly more flattering than this one.

For the record, any insinuation that I had anything to do with evil cigar lobby money is entirely innacurate. The only smokers’ rights group with which I’m affiliated is The Smoker’s Club . I’ll add that I would have taken the money, though — especially after they outlawed private property rights in Birmingham with a freakin’ smoking ban for restaurants.

Aside from mild jabs for Montgomery’s vote opposing the smoking ban, the mystery satirist seems pretty freedom-oriented, so far. The section on Pinky and the Brain jabs Carol Reynolds for her support of corporate welfare/eminent domain Wal-Mart deals — which Montgomery fought hard, but lost.

In our local version, we’ll risk of being accused of typecasting and let Carol Reynolds (aka “Carol Corporate Welfare Queen) play the role of Pinky. As for the Brain, our favorite “Movie Villain” is perfect for the part–aside from the whole “genius” thing, that is.

Here’s a brief scene taken from our screenplay:

INTERIOR – COUNCIL CHAMBER – DAY
Brain: Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?
Pinky: I think so, Brain, but how can we give Wal-Mart a $10 million tax break and move them from your district to mine?
Brain: We will disguise ourselves as a cow.
Pinky: Narf! That was it *exactly*.
Brain: Moo. We are a cow. Take us to China.

Despite the history behind calling Royal a twerp, a lot of us (sometimes) affectionately refer to him as Urkel. He asked for my support on his first run for city council, and I (reluctantly) provided it. I stayed out of that picture during his latest race.

Unlike some cities, Birmingham (at least in certain districts on certain election dates) is one in which Libertarian support can make you or make and then break you (if you screw up — like Johnson did). About Johnson, Mark Bodenhausen once said, “We brought him in, regretted it, so we took him out.”

Ironically, Bill Johnson (of Alabama, for the most part) is the person who convinced Thomas Knapp (who lives near St. Louis) to join the Libertarian Party.

While cracking on Valerie Abbott, I hope they’ll explore to see if there’s some connection between the timing of her votes on Wal-Mart deals and disproportionate funding for parks in Abbott’s district (where I have an office and my “city apartment”, BTW). Disclaimer: She did show at a charity fundraiser (Children’s Hospital) Libertarians held in one of those parks. Additionally, the rumors that I changed my voter registration from my house to my apartment in order to take Abbott’s slot on the City Council simply aren’t accurate. She’s much more talented at wasting taxpayer money than I could ever be.

They picked on Carol Reynolds for her support of corporate welfare — specifically $21 million to Wal-Mart in two separate deals. She received significant libertarian support in her first run for city council, but we all worked against her during her re-election bid — mostly due to the way she now wields eminent domain as her sword and corporate welfare as her shield.

From her particular home page:

“Let them eat cake.” — Marie Antoinette

Without a doubt, the once and future Queen of corporate welfare handouts in Birmingham, Alabama is Carol Reynolds.

It gets even better. There are two other sites out there that we’ve found so far. First of all there’s the UnCivilCouncil site, where they correctly poke fun at how rudely city counselors treat citizens, as well as each other. Better yet, the Birmingham Department of Corporate Welfare is an absolute hoot, so far. To be fair to Montgomery, he just voted against giving the Drug Enforcement Agency a tax break for their new building in town — a key fact omitted on the site.

After the eight Councilors present–Joel Montgomery was absent with an illness [he truly was; he looked near death at my place — and gave his crud to my wife and me] –voted unanimously to approve the [Wal-Mart corporate welfare] deal, Carol Reynolds bolted from the dais and ran into the hallway outside the Council chambers, where she proceeded to giddily dance and jump around like an eigth-grade school girl who has just been asked on a date by her latest crush.

In addition to the additional information likely to be provided, I’ll be awaiting the sites for the other five counselors, as well as any additional sites he/she/they dream up. Matter of fact, I’ve got a site I can’t keep up with which I just redirected to my favorite of theirs(?). I’m not yet sure who’s behind this series of websites, but if you’ll pop me an e-mail, I’d love to buy you/y’all a drink (and perhaps some new leads for your sites). Anyplace but Bubba’s Pub, though — that place just ain’t my style.

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New Libertarian Publication in Gotham

Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

From The NY Sun:

At the height of the political races last summer, the libertarian candidates weren’t getting much press in the daily newspapers in New York. So Jim Lesczynski and the Manhattan Libertarian Party created their own publication, Serf City.

The title is a pun on a Beach Boys song, but also symbolizes the state of affairs in New York City, Mr. Lesczynski said.

“It says “serf” because the government thinks of us citizens as serfs,” he said. “They tax and regulate, running their little feudal system, with Bloomberg as our lord.”

I know Jim well enough to suspect that the content’s pretty hard core libertarian. I’d love to get my hands on a copy.

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Casper Weinberger and Lyn Nofziger, RIP

From the NY Times:

Lyn Nofziger, the cigar-chomping former newspaperman who served as spokesman and strategist for Ronald Reagan in Sacramento and Washington, died of cancer on Monday at his home in Falls Church, Va. He was 81.

From Nofziger’s website:

I served in Ronald Reagan’s governor’s office and White House and in Richard Nixon’s White House. I have run and participated in numerous political campaigns, including five for president, and have won some and lost some. Once I even worked at the Republican National Committee.

I am a Republican because I believe that freedom is more important than government-provided security. Sometimes I wish I were a Democrat because Democrats seem to have more fun. At other times I wish I were a Libertarian because Republicans are too much like Democrats.

What I actually am is a right-wing independent who is registered Republican because there isn’t any place else to go. In the future I expect to be critical of both parties and their leadership and a lot of other people and things, too.

Casper Weinberger died, as well. From VOA:

Casper Weinberger, who served as defense secretary under President Ronald Reagan, has died at the age of 88.

His family said he died from pneumonia early Tuesday morning in the town of Bangor, Maine.

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Best Comment I’ve Seen on the TABC Issue

Most of us must be freakin’ wimps. Frequent HoT commenter GreginOz hit the nail smack-dab middle of the bloody head (hopefully with our hammer) with his take on how the goose-stepping goons in Texas are effectively trying to outlaw pubs, taverns, and other fun places that serve alcohol:

I’ll be fucked by a rabid wombat! Youse cunts won’t even let a guy get drunk anymore? Christ on a shaslick stick, what the fuck was The Alamo about? Guess who will NEVER spend tourism dollars in your (police) State? Me, ya fuckin’ wankers. GreginOz. And P fuckin’ S, since I am in Australia – get a bristly Brahman bull up yer arse, bristles backwards, you sanctimonius butt fuckers.

Greg, you put us all to shame, dude!

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Drug Prohibition, Alice in Wonderland, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons

Rolf Lindgren e-mailed the following to us. I haven’t fact-checked all of his claims (and some would be incredibly difficult to check out), but his perspective on Federal prisons and the War on Drug Users (and some who don’t even use drugs) is a must read merely for the satirical and literary value. I’ve left his original e-mail unedited and merely performed a cut-and-paste to post his content. Disclaimer: This article by Rolf Lindgren expresses opinions of his own — which are not neccessarily (but most of them are) entertained by HammerOfTruth.com.

an eyewitness account by Rolf Lindgren

Alcohol Prohibition raged from 1920 to 1933 and the national murder rate increased all 13 years. Then when Prohibition was ended, the murder rate decreased the next 9 consecutive years. This alone convinces me Prohibition is bad public policy, though I didn’t live during that time. Now we have the New Prohibition, Drug Prohibition, along with increased crime again. Drug Prohibition is bad public policy and I know this not only because I’ve read the statistics. I know this because I’m a statistic.

Note – Unlike Alcohol Prohibition, there has never been a Constitutional amendment to legalize Drug Prohibition.

On July 3, 1990, I was snared in what I soon learned was a new type of crime that hadn’t existed in all annals of human history from 3000 BC until our generation, the reverse-sting drug crime. Reverse-sting crimes are created when undercover government agents push drugs. It’s an intent crime. If you show your intent with even the slightest act of agreement, you’re guilty. Reverse-sting crimes remind me of thoughtcrimes in George Orwell’s 1984 or of Christmas presents; It’s the thought that counts! In my case, an undercover college student named Nick Hare called me on the phone 10 times offering drugs. Nick knew I was young, naive and financially unstable. He also was facing a prison sentence and had a deal where for every 5 years prison he could induce someone else to receive, he’d get a year reduction in his sentence. This doesn’t meet John Stuart Mill’s criteria for Utility. Not once did I call back. However, being an entrepreneurial person in a capitalist country who believes crimes have victims, I foolishly agreed to borrow money and meet Nick and his “friend” David Matthews. I went to the Fairfield Inn on the Madison east side with $10,750 in a Hardees cup. No drugs were present and no agreement was reached, but police still swarmed into the room, robbed me and put me in handcuffs. They said I was facing 5 years prison for attempting to buy drugs. I said, “I thought you were attempting to sell them!” Nick told undercover agent Matthews I was “a gift from God”. While in jail other inmates drank alcohol and took LSD and I met a murderer who protested the Vietnam War by robbing 43 banks.

At my first court appearance, Magistrate James Groh didn’t violate my Constitutional right and give me unreasonable bail, he didn’t give me any bail. Fortunately Judge Barbara Crabb overturned the decision and set bail at $100,000 for a nonviolent first offense. When home the first thing I saw in the paper was a murder suspect with $10,000 bail. I had to hire a Notary to watch me 24 hours a day. I was ordered to find a new job, but the magistrate wouldn’t let me go to an insurance interview. The magistrate wouldn’t let me substitute a private lawyer for a public pretender. I was subjected to body cavity searches and urinalysis drug tests each week. I’ve passed 65 drug tests. God forbid what would’ve happened had I ever failed one. To justify Drug Prohibition psychologists, police and probation officers constantly asked me if I had a drug problem. I replied “No.” They continued to ask if I had a problem. I answered “Well yes, I’ve just been arrested.” They would not let up and said “Mr. Lindgren, have you ever heard of denial?” I retorted “Yes. Denial is a river in Egypt!” Rather than create 5-year reverse-sting crimes for others I reluctantly plead guilty and prepared to spend 5 years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). see more…

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Shameless Self-Promotion

I’ll be speaking at three Libertarian Party state conventions in April. I consider myself honored to be sharing the podium with people like former congressman Bob Barr, Sharon Harris of the Advocates for Self Government, Vice Admiral (retired) Michael Colley, Dr. Gerald Schneider, LNC Chair Michael Dixon, LNC Vice Chair R. Lee Wrights, Dade County GA County Executive Ben Brandon (who defeated his GOP opponent by a 2-1 margin), Jeff Edgens of the Irwinton GA City Council, Dr. Lawrence Egbert of the Maryland ACLU, LP Chief of Staff Shane Cory, Russ Diamond of PACleanSweep, Rep. Randy Hinshaw of the Alabama legislature and Thomas Firey of CATO and MPPI.

Bob Johnston indicated that the Maryland crowd was interested in my inside perspective of the 2004 presidential race and wanted my insight about running effective political campaigns. Thomas Knapp artfully combined the two issues and wrote most of the material I’ll be presenting. Hopefully, I’ll do his work some justice at all three April events. I’ll be the dinner speaker in Baltimore and speaking around lunch time in Montgomery and Atlanta.

Additionally, I was invited to speak at the Wisconsin LP Convention, but had to decline due the scheduling conflict with the Alabama LP. I thought I’d give them the plug because they were nice enough to invite me. I’ll likely be speaking in some function for the Badnarik campaign at the Texas Libertarian Party convention, too. We’re working out the details at this moment. Of course, I’ve threatened not to take this trip if the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission doesn’t back down. After all, drinking and politics go hand in hand.

Here are the links for all five conventions:

April 1, 2006 Baltimore (Dundalk), Maryland
April 8, 2006 Montgomery, Alabama
April 8, 2006 Madison, Wisconsin
April 22, 2006 Atlanta, Georgia
June 10, 2006 Houston, Texas

Hopefully, I’ll see some of you at one or more of these upcoming events.

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Would-Be Rapist Takes It in the Balls

It looks like she has more balls than the man who allegedly tried to rape her:

A 14-year-old girl told Toledo police she was abducted Tuesday by a man with a gun but got away with help from a hammer.

Police said the quick-thinking teen found it in the man’s car and used it to hit him in the groin.

According to police, the man forced the girl into his car while she was walking to her school bus stop and said he wanted sex. So, she told him she had dropped her ring in the car and went searching for it. That’s when she felt the hammer under her seat.

I’m just waiting on the social do-gooders to start requiring licensing and waiting periods for hammer purchases. After all, there isn’t even a constitutional protection for the right to keep and bear hammers.

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Texas Gets it Right…Sort of

It’s not often that a government agency gets something right. But in the interest of fairness, we like to point out such anomalies.

The Official Site of Texas Tourism, TravelTex.com really smacked the nail squarely with their slogan Texas: It’s like a whole other country.

Unfortunately for Texans, the list of other countries Texas is like includes Belarus, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe. Actually, the recent actions of TABC may be insulting to the libertarian-by-contrast nature of those countries. Typical tyrannies don’t use a pretense of concern for their subject’s safety, they rule them for the sake of order and obedience.

It would seem as though the state of Texas would “need” increased revenue from tourism to offset the self-imposed loss they are doubtlessly suffering after a de facto criminalization of drinking establishments. While the iron is HoT, it would be a great time to contact the office of Economic Development and Tourism (operating under the Office of the Governor) and explain exactly why you won’t be visiting Texas. Those on a budget may choose to explain that while you enjoy a drink from time to time, you can’t afford to pay for a vacation and a bail bondsman.

A flood of canceled vacation explanations on the heels of the flurry of complaints HoT previously covered might fast track these goons back to a desk job in Austin.

From the TravelTex.com site:

If you find an error or want to provide feedback on TravelTex.com, we’d love to hear from you. To share your comments, please complete the form below. We review all comments and appreciate your interest in Texas Tourism; however, due to high volumes we cannot respond to emails.

Let’s show them some all time “high volumes!”

The Governor’s website also lists, in addition to a lot of tripe about the state’s “unique spirit” and “opportunity,” a Citizen’s Opinion Hotline number: 800-252-9600. Happy dialing.

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Overloading the National Debt Clock

From MET via Sploid:

The national debt clock, as it is known, is a big clock. A spot-check last week showed a readout of $8.3 trillion – or more precisely $8,310,200,545,702 – and counting.

But it is not big enough.

Sometime in the next two years, the total amount of US government borrowing is going to break through the $10-trillion mark and, lacking space for the extra digit that such a figure would require, the clock is in danger of running itself into obsolescence.

The clock’s owner, real estate developer Douglas Durst, knew such a problem could arise but had not counted on it so soon.

According to the article, Durst plans to upgrade the clock to accomodate our greater level of debt:

“When it became clear what was going to happen, our first thought was to free up the digital square occupied by the dollar sign so that we could cope with a 14th digit,” Durst said.

The latest plan is for yet another replacement, involving a larger scale signboard.

“We’re not happy at the impact we’re making with this one,” he said.

Durst insists that the clock is non-partisan in its effort to shame the federal government over what he sees as its willingness to gamble away the nation’s future.

“We’re a family business,” Durst said. “We think generationally, and we don’t want to see the next generation crippled by this burden,” he said. Last week the “family share” readout on the clock stood some loose change short of $90,000.

I’ve got a better idea. Instead of upgrading the clock, let’s pass legislation forcing the federal government to cease operations whenever they’ve bumped our future (and the future of our children) over 13 digits long.

It’s also interesting to note that Sploid had to go to a Libertarian website to get a live debt clock link. I guess that’s because the Republicans and Democrats are more concerned with spending your money than in finding some immediate and meaningful solutions to our runaway debt.

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Students Prevail in Lawsuit Against Dept. of Education

Here’s a press release worth passing on…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 27, 2006
CONTACT: Tom Angell — (202) 293-4414 or tom@ssdp.org Adina Rosenbaum — (202) 588-7720 or arosenbaum@citizen.org

Students Prevail in Lawsuit Against Dept. of Education

Government Surrenders Data on Drug Law to Avoid Court Battle

WASHINGTON, DC — After being sued by one of the nation’s largest student organizations, the U.S. Department of Education has agreed to waive a hefty fee and turn over data on the effects of a law that strips financial aid from college students with drug convictions. The group, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), submitted a Freedom of Information Act request more than a year ago seeking a simple state-by-state breakdown of the number of people denied aid due to the law. Nearly 200,000 have been affected nationwide. see more…

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Working Together Towards Common Goals

Conventional libertarian wisdom provides that the Dallas Accord created a temporary alliance within the movement — until such time as we actually have a small and limited government once again. One look at the comments on a posting with which libertarians of all stripes and shades should agree upon clearly indicates we are spending more of out time fighting with each other than in fighting an ever expansive and tyrannical government.

I’ve got an idea. I’m going to create two posts. This one will be dedicated to commentary where we can try to find positive ways to work with one another. The one below be where y’all can fight it out to the bitter end. I’m sure I know which will have more comments.

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Libertarian Flame Wars

OK, libertarians, duke it out here. If you tire of fighting over anarchism v. minarchism, there’s a host of other divisions to fight about here.

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TABC: “Nazi, Taliban, Gestapo”

We asked you to send your complaints to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission for their preemptive arrests of drunk drivers and related usurpations of our rights. Apparently, it’s beginning to work. From NBC5:

“I’m getting all those same e-mails, the Nazi, Taliban, Gestapo e-mails,” said commission spokeswoman Carolyn Beck. “I don’t really understand the hateful outrage. I don’t understand, ‘Die in a fire.'”

That she doesn’t even understand the criticisms clearly indicates how far out in Lalaland she is. Some additional suggestions for your complaints include TABC stormtroopers, Lone Star Savak, Shiner Boch Stasi and the Killian’s (or even Killeen) KGB. Additionally, the Texas Central Committee Legislature may be taking up the issue.

Legislators who oversee the commission said they agree with the emphasis on public safety, but the program should be reviewed to check for abuses and to measure its effectiveness. […]

Rep. Kino Flores, chairman of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures, said he plans to call a meeting next month to examine the commission’s work.

“We’re looking at it and we’re going to be looking at it: Are we going too far, or do we need to go further?” the Mission Democrat said.

The key problem is that the legislators don’t get this really simple concept called freedom.

Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and member of both the powerful Senate Finance Committee and the Criminal Justice Committee that oversees the commission, defended the principle of in-bar citations.

“Even though a public drunk is not planning on driving, that could change in an instant,” he said. “There is certainly potential danger.”

With that line of reasoning, why not just arrest people at the store when they purchase a six-pack of beer? After all, they could potentially cause danger, too. In addition to the individual rights issues, there are additional questions which need to be addressed. Why isn’t a bar considered private property by Texas law? Why the hell does the TABC have a Homeland Security department?

We suggested it, and obviously you’re doing a great job at contacting the TABC thugs. It’s starting to work, so let’s keep up the telephone and e-mail campaign. You can e-mail their complaint line, call their complaint line at 888-843-8222, or call the TABC executive department at 512-206-3221. I’m adding John Whitmire to my correspondence list, too.

UPDATE: It seems that at least one organization has picked up on the neologism neoprohibitionist:

But the executive director of a national restaurant trade group Friday termed the sweeps “neo-prohibitionism,” which he blamed on the Irving-based group Mothers Against Drunk Driving. MADD issued a statement supporting the alcohol commission’s efforts.

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Pot Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

FedGov is pretending to give the idea of self-ownership another shot, the AP is reporting. This time, it appears, the dying, rather than the sick are the intended recipients of a small shot of liberty.

This round, like those before it, matches one person (and her attorney husband) against the state leviathan and its endless cash. Although a long shot in this political climate that has Bush’s hands tightly around Liberty’s neck, there is the possibility of an upset here. If the case somehow goes back to the Supreme Court and is argued well, the “justices” (assuming their hypocrisy has an end) may have a difficult time opining against the right to life when they just ruled in favor of the right to death.

Of course, the Administration has made a compelling case against medical freedom by stating that, well, marijuana is bad and that the government doesn’t like it, or some such stirring oration. More on the well-reasoned opposition from the ass’s mouth:

“There is no fundamental right to distribute, cultivate or possess marijuana,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Quinlivan, the government’s lead medical marijuana attorney, wrote to the appeals court.

From an ethical medical standpoint, the government sounds foolish beyond description. While no one enjoys a right to be healthy, the pursuit of health, like that of happiness is a fundamental right.

If this reality were somewhat more normal and felt a bit less like an altered, down-is-up, parallel one, it might shock the sensibilities that someone like Mark Quinlivan could rise to the level of Assistant US Attorney and not hold the slightest understanding of the Constitution. His position, no more than a parroting of what the Administration’s puppet masters dictate, is without authority on at least three constitutional levels.

Firstly, the 9th Amendment clearly states that rights listed in the Constitution are not exhaustive, stating, in clear language, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Mr. Quinlivan assumes the Constitution is dead wrong on this point. He seems to subscribe to the tyrannical belief that many were concerned about with respect to a bill of rights. James Madison wrote on this point, illustrating the concern.

“It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in that enumeration; and it might follow by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution.”

While well-intending, the verbal guard against statism became, in time, less than a paper tiger.

The 10th Amendment makes it very clear for anyone with third grade reading comprehension skills that the federal government’s power is limited to what the Constitution grants it, and that any power not so delegated, is reserved to the states.

Then there is the “penumbra” of a privacy right (violations of which are not actual if perpetrated by the government) located within the Bill of Rights by court opinion in Griswold vs. Connecticut. In that case the government saw fit to rule in favor of defendants who were trafficking drugs that were illegal under state law. Up to this point, the government has been blazing newer and wider trails of sanctimony by ruling against defendants who are trafficking drugs that are legal under state law.

None of this matters to Messrs. Bush and Quinlivan, who usurp rights for usurpation’s sake. But precedent and constitutionality aside, the entire situation can be distilled down to simple matter of personal choice. If I own my body, as I do my mind, it would reasonably follow that I have as much a right to ingest a tray of black Afghani Hash brownies as I do to chain smoke filter-less Pall Malls as I shoot a fifth of Everclear with a bacon grease chaser. I can not legally do the former, but the latter act, the more ill-advised, I can perform without fear or threat whenever I wish. I am so blessed to have a government that protects me from myself.

That I can harm myself with some substances but not others, or that I can’t choose my own medication while the FDA approves dangerous drugs with horrifying side effects on a daily basis magnifies the absurdity of Washington’s position. If I truly feel that my physical, mental and spiritual heath is best maintained by copulating with racially-mixed circus midgets in a bathtub full of no. 3 heroin, I can’t imagine that being anyone else’s business, so long as the little people were there by choice. Likewise, if I choose to forgo conventional poison therapy to treat cancer, and favor the odds of laetrile and ozonation, that too, is solely my concern. But doctors who operate outside of the mainstream and offer their patients the treatment of their choice, are usually jailed and have their medical licenses revoked. Thus much for the penumbras of the Constitution.

And let us not forget that terminal patients often get all the opiates they want. The dying are sent home with bags of potent and addictive Morphine, but a few tokes of pot could lead to ruin. No one seriously believes that government is a bit concerned that someone with stage IVb pancreatic cancer might be victimized by marijuana’s “gateway drug” charms and start snorting lines of coke in the stall at the local nightclub.

Although I am excited about any foot in the door and hope those worried about a slippery drug slope are right, this upcoming case isn’t really about medical marijuana or even the prohibition of recreational drugs. It is about self-ownership and choice. If we own our bodies, we can put anything we wish into them. If we don’t, then someone else does, which makes us slaves. There is really no third option.

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The Things We Shove…

As the war on error against the liberal/conservative demagogues continues, I thought it would be funny to point out some interesting contrasting Google searches:

up your liberal ass
up your democrat ass

up your conservative ass
up your republican ass

And for good measure (a whopping 2 results):

up your libertarian ass

Really, this is just Saturday night fun/boredom, carry on with your usual weekend drinking and debauchery, we’ll catch ya later.

But seriously… at least Penn Jillette knows what the ellipsis is all about.

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GYWO #53: Mr. Super President

GYWO #53: Mr. Super President

David Rees’s Get Your War On series rarely fails to make me laugh as he exposes the apparent foibles of our leaders and government, peppering his comics with cussing and in-your-face truisms. So it’s no suprise that I nearly ruined a keyboard after spewing out my drink reading his latest installment and got to this strip. I can only wonder if Mr. Super President’s arch-nemesis is the Evil Veto Bandit.

Go read the rest of GYWO #53, some definite political comedy gold.

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Ohio: Going off the Deep End in Lorain

I’m as opposed to rape and sexual assualt as the next person. I’m especially protective of children when they become the victims of such heinous acts. In Lorain, Ohio, they are taking things too far. To begin, they wish to establish the city as a predator-free zone. That’s fine until one looks at the details:

The ordinance would prohibit sexual predators, the most dangerous class of registered sex offenders, from living within 2,500 feet of any school, library, day care, park or public pool in Lorain. Some on council also favor adding school bus stops to the list.

Effectively, the ordinance would prohibit sexual predators from living in much of the city. […]

Now Provenza’s office must research if the ordinance can include all categories of sex offenders; if it can also include school bus stops; and the maximum distance possible to restrict sex offenders.

No matter how one feels about such ordinances, tracking devices or notification programs across the country, we also need to look at how people in Lorain define sexual offenses. In one case, a principal recently lost his job over this silly issue:

Robert Holloway, 49, of Parma, quit his job as principal of St. Anthony of Padua school in Lorain last month, said the Rev. Joe West, pastor of St. Anthony parish. Holloway already had been suspended when he chose to quit.

Holloway told police that he kissed the feet of three 14-year-old boys after promising to do so 50 times if educators lost a recent teacher-student volleyball game.

West wrote St. Anthony parents last week to say that he accepted Holloway’s resignation.

According to a Lorain police report, Holloway paid each student $15 as promised besides kissing their feet – one boys’ in the school library and the other two in the gym, the report stated.

The boys said they did not believe the prank was done in a sexual way and Lorain police said no criminal charges would be filed.

It gets worse. They seem so uptight they’d even arrest Charlie Brown for his crush on that little red-haired girl. Here’s today’s news from Lorain:

School documents provided by Barth and the boy’s father, Frank Johnson, did not give specifics on the incident but showed that the second-grader was removed from school on Tuesday for ”sexual harassment during gym.” It also states the student ”admits to writing notes saying ‘I love you’ and giving them to a student.”

”It’s an embarrassment to me and it’s an embarrassment to him because he doesn’t understand what’s going on,” Barth said.

Lorain schools spokesman Dean Schnurr confirmed yesterday that a student was sent home on an ”emergency removal” for inappropriate actions. Schnurr insisted that his removal was a minor, precautionary action.

”It’s not a disciplinary action,” Schnurr said yesterday, adding the allegation will not be placed in the student’s permanent record. ”We don’t want to put something in the permanent record of a youngster who may not understand what they did wrong.

”He admitted to what he was being accused of,” Schnurr said, unable to give specifics but said they were ”inappropriate” in nature.

However, the student’s mother said the school assumed her son touched the girl because he had written her a love letter a few weeks ago.

”Apparently, they had to treat it as sexual harassment,” Barth said, adding the girl has been friends with her son for a long time. ”And then he was given a day off of school because of passing notes that say ‘I love you.”’

To quote Gwen Stefani, “The shit is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S.”

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Florida: We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore

Yesterday, we brought you the story a the St. Petersburg man who blew out the tires of someone who more than deserved it. Today’s good news comes from Florida, as well. Check out this report from West Palm Beach:

Ralph Thomas picked the wrong place to break into early Friday morning.

That’s because parishioners have taken turns sleeping inside the Church of the Nazarene at 5312 Broadway in West Palm Beach to keep burglars at bay since their church was hit about two months ago.

So while Thomas, 47, climbed up on the roof about 1 a.m. and eyed a second story window, Juan Delfin was wide awake, listening and looking for any signs of prowlers.

“It just happened to be my night,” said Delfin, who covered the 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. shift. “The guys called us from downstairs from a cell phone and told us that they saw two men trying to break in.”

Delfin, 26, woke the other two men on his floor, Esteban Mendoza and Aristeo Paxtor. They got baseball bats and broomsticks and waited. “That was the plan,” said Delfin, who could hear Thomas talk to another man and called police.

Thomas broke a window on the north side of the building that led to a room with a desk and a computer. He climbed through the window and made his way to the door, police said.

“We were ready,” Mendoza, 24, said. “When he opened the door and walked out, one of our friends hit him with a bat.”

Perhaps I’ll spend my next vacation in Florida, as opposed to Texas.

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