Hating Hate Crimes

My partner-in-crime thinks there is nothing more annoying these days than to watch religious fanatics burnin’ down the house. I find one thing even more irritating: calling the radical actions of fundamentalist fanatics hate crimes.

In many of the recent cases, arson is the proper term to describe the illegality involved. This is true, no matter whether burning embassies in Europe [and the Middle East] over a silly cartoon or burning churches in Alabama over racial bigotry or hatred of Roy Moore or some other yet-to-be-determined issue.

I’ve got news for some of you knuckleheads out there. Vandalism is a property crime, even if done to a church. When one beats on another with chains, baseball bats and bicycle wheels, it’s called assault. When one kills another because of sexual preference issues, it’s called murder. Duh! In the Jacob Robida case, it seems the suspect received a pre-trial death penalty, sparing us the burden of an expensive trial. Should we add a posthumous hate crime indictment to his gravestone?

I’ve been very critical of our involvement in Iraq, and of American fundies depriving Muslims equal protection under the law. I’ve been a strong advocate of equal protection for homosexuals, too. My key beef with churches lately has been when the fundies wish to impose their will on other people. Believe what you want, and do what you want — so long as it doesn’t deprive another of his life, liberty or property.

Pat Robertson has the right to spout hatred. We have the right to hate him for it. We don’t have the right to burn down his church. It’s just common sense, folks.

People have the inherent right to hate. I freakin’ hate tofu. I have the damned right to hate tofu. I have the right to read anti-tofu propaganda. I have the right to publish anti-tofu articles. I even have the right to cuss out a waiter who serves me tofu that I didn’t order — but if I shoot the SOB for it, I should be charged with murder.

If we continue sliding down this slippery slope of hate crime legislation, some day the murder of any waiter who works in a pro-tofu restaurant will be considered a hate crime. Even in my currently smoky state of Alabama, some people seem to get it, while other nitwits prefer the Orwellian solution.


Religious Fanatics… Hooray!

Muhammed is the bombThere’s nothing more annoying these days than to watch religious fanatics, be it Muslim, Christian, Jewish or whatnot get all crazy up in the house and burn shit down. And then there’s the political fanatics like communism who want to turn the state into a church. So really… there’s a bunch of crazy fuckers in the world, which is why a self-defense should always be the libertarian foreign policy. Keep your crazy fanaticism over there and we won’t nuke you off the planet.

What’s funny is that after a few millennia with prophets of peace telling us about universal love, the same people who preach this nonsense the loudest are the ones advocating fire and brimstone on other religions. Pat Robertson and Osama Bin Laden, I’m pointing at you.

I think the Danish cartoons that causing so much unrest in the world are a bit too tame: Muhammed with a bomb in his turban? Don’t make me laugh. Instead, I’d like to see the true depiction of what’s wrong with religion. Why doesn’t someone draw Bin Laden fucking Muhammed up the ass right next to Robertson fucking Jesus up the ass, because that’s reality. That’s the problem with religious fanatics.


A female perspective on the libertarian movement

Eureka! We can see today (thanks to a tip from Brandon Middleton) why libertarianism has not caught on. We are self-absorbed asses who care more about ourselves than the public good. Or, at least, that is what John Bice of MSU would have one believe. Although he comes to some rather “out there” conclusions, perhaps Mr. Bice’s article can be a tool for us selfish libertarians. His misinformed opinion of us is likely representative of unhappy voters in the two major camps. I think it is time to start spreading some truth.

Bice: “For example, the Libertarian Party opposes ‘any government attempts to regulate private discrimination’ in employment, housing, and privately owned businesses. The right to trade includes the right not to trade – for any reasons whatsoever. Translation: Personal liberty includes the right to create “whites only” establishments, the right to deny jobs, mortgages, apartments or services of any kind to any minority group or person.”

Me: He has us on the first point, but screws up the translation. Any business, regardless of political affiliation, which discriminates against a group based on ethnicity, is simply looking for a business loss to offset his tax liability. If you want to turn a profit, you provide a product that is desired. When I conjure the image of a bigot, I view a person without spending power-knowledge or dollars. A true businessman is concerned about two colors- black and red.

And speaking of taxation, Mr. Bice gives this example:

“David Holcberg, from the Ayn Rand Institute, demonstrated libertarian hatred of taxes in a column on tsunami aid, “The United States government should not give any money to help the tsunami victims. Every dollar the government hands out as foreign aid has to be extorted from an American taxpayer first. Pacifists are undoubtedly horrified that portions of their taxes fund military spending. Does this lack of unanimous approval mean we shouldn’t have a military? One libertarian solution to this inconsistency requires a heavily armed citizenry to provide all national defense needs, no taxes required.”

Goodie! Taxes and guns- one stone. I was a single mom for a while. I know first hand what people do not pay in, and then get out. EIC, baby. Hardly fair to the people who work their asses off and pay and pay and pay. As a single mom (many years ago), I would get every dime I paid in, plus some because I had kids. But I married someone with greater earning potential than I, so now; our tax rate is higher than Cheney’s. As for the citizen militia, libertarians have studied history-we know what it takes to keep a monarchy government- in check. It takes a people with the means to revolt. Neither Bice nor I could write our drivel without the American Revolution. (I think that one of us needs to revisit the history books. David McCullough’s 1776 is a good starting point.)

Bice: Libertarians believe “all drugs should be legalized.”

Me: Decriminalized. People are free to learn from their mistakes without some hyped up morality charge on their records.

Bice: People don’t exist in isolation; individual actions impact others in innumerable ways. For example, cheaply constructed homes are often destroyed during hurricanes, generating dangerous flying debris that threatens the lives and property of responsible homeowners. Furthermore, studies have shown that adequate building codes can prevent billions of dollars in hurricane damage.

Me: Years of regulation did not help NOLA. In fact, NOLA is flapping like a hooked fish on the floor of the boat, because of regulation.

Bice: Jefferson’s advocacy of universal and free public education, supported through taxation, demonstrated that he didn’t believe defending personal liberty required the elimination of taxes or government services. Libertarians, however, see the Jeffersonian legacy of free public education as just another government program to be eradicated.

Me: Parents want to choose where we spend our tax dollars. Whether we choose to spend in a different district, on home schooling, or private instruction, we should be the decision makers.

Bice: Libertarian freedom is a harsh mistress.

Me: Harsh mistress? Demanding is probably a better description. Maybe the best damn experience he will ever have. He should consider leaving that saggy, wrinkled ideology that he has been married to for so long. If not on moral principal, for his children.


Jimmy Carter Growing a Pair?

Via AP:

“Under the Bush administration, there’s been a disgraceful and illegal decision – we’re not going to the let the judges or the Congress or anyone else know that we’re spying on the American people,” Carter told reporters. “And no one knows how many innocent Americans have had their privacy violated under this secret act.”


“It’s a ridiculous argument, not only bad, it’s ridiculous. Obviously, the attorney general who said it’s all right to torture prisoners and so forth is going to support the person who put him in office. But he’s a very partisan attorney general and there’s no doubt that he would say that,” Carter said. “I hope that eventually the case will go to the Supreme Court. I have no doubt that when it’s over, the Supreme Court will rule that Bush has violated the law.”

The former president said he would testify before the Judiciary Committee if asked.

“If my voice is important to point of the intent of the law that was passed when I was president, I know all about that because it was one of the most important decisions I had to make.”


Serving Straight Shots of American Politics

There should be a law about blogging while intoxicated. I’m not sure if the law should prohibit or mandate BUIs, but this is America so there simply has to be a law…

After reading the February GQ article (Great Britain version only, it seems — props) about comedic bad boy Doug Stanhope, I’m sure he’d make an argument that one shouldn’t blog with a blood alcohol content of less than .08% — anorexic teetotaling sorority girls notwithstanding. As the article had some insight on Hunter S. Thompson’s final goodbye, I found this the appropriate time to pour a tumbler of whiskey.

In addition to the Stanhope article, another of the libertarian comedic icons was just covered at Slate (props). According to Bryan Curtis:

In our conversation, Jillette felt moved to declare that he had devised a method by which to place every artist in human history into a matrix: separating those who had genuine skill, those who had genuine passion, and those rarefied geniuses who had both.

This got me to thinking. Thinking that it’s time to refill that tumbler and mix tenses (the latter being a bad habit of mine when BUI). While at the domestic refueling station, I started thinking of another recent GQ article I’d briefly covered: Trey Parker and Matt Stone. What do the people with genuine skill, genuine passion and libertarian roots have in common? see more…

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Weare, N.H.: Public Voted Libertarian in Eminent Domain Loss?

I know, the title is a bit confusing, and I’ll explain. The explanation will probably piss a few of you off, too.

According to the NY Post (via Fark), the Lost Liberty Hotel is now a no-go as local voters just rejected the proposal to evict U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter from his farmhouse by the use of eminent domain.

A group angered by last year’s court decision that gave local governments more power to seize people’s homes for economic development had petitioned to use the ruling against the justice.

But voters deciding which issues should go on the town’s March ballot replaced the group’s proposal with a call to strengthen New Hampshire’s law on eminent domain.

“This is a game,” said Walter Bohlin. “Why would we take something from one of ours? This is not the appropriate way.”

Like most Americans, I’ve certainly been angered by the Kelo decision, but to use the concept of democracy to apply eminent domain is no better than using judicial means. To begin, if it is wrong for the local development company to take my land, it is just as wrong for me to take the land of another. Two wrongs don’t make a right, even when done in the name of something just.

Joshua Solomon, a member of the Committee for the Protection of Natural Rights, was disappointed with the vote.

This seems a bit oxymoronic. How can someone who is allegedly protecting natural rights be upset when the attempt to seize the natural rights of another is thwarted?

Had the voters in Weare decided to use force to remove Justice Souter from his home, it probably would have have motivated votes to remove people from their homes and businesses in other communities. Like the Lost Liberty Hotel concept, the first vote or two might be a bit amusing — like forcing some corrupt mayor from his home or shutting down a local Wal-Mart. The next round of votes might be applied to shut down a strip club or porn shop. Then the local diner gets shut down to make room for a new chain restuarant. Then your neighbors can vote to kick you out of your house simply because you ran out of time to cut the yard or they don’t like the color of your house. This slipperly slope is a move away from individual rights and towards collectivist thinking.

The voters did the right thing by deciding to toughen eminent domain laws as opposed to applying eminent domain through the ballot box — which makes them more principled than the thousands of libertarians screaming for someone else’s private property.

Let the hate mail begin…


E-Mail: The Free Market No Longer Free?

According to the New York Times, America Online and Yahoo are planning to exploit their positions as two of the world’s largest e-mail providers to make megabucks, a fraction of a penny at a time.

America Online and Yahoo, two of the world’s largest providers of e-mail accounts, are about to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from 1/4 of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The senders must promise to contact only people who have agreed to receive their messages, or risk being blocked entirely.

The Internet companies say that this will help them identify legitimate mail and cut down on junk e-mail, identity-theft scams and other scourges that plague users of their services. Thy (sic) also stand to earn millions of dollars a year from the system if it is widely adopted.

AOL and Yahoo will still accept e-mail from senders who have not paid, but the paid messages will be given special treatment. On AOL, for example, they will go straight to users’ main mailboxes, and will not have to pass the gantlet of spam filters that could divert them to a junk-mail folder or strip them of images and Web links. As is the case now, mail arriving from addresses that users have added to their AOL address books will not be treated as spam.

If my address book is indicative of the entire Internet community, only 16 percent of people currently utilize these two services. It is easy to envision how AOL and Yahoo will attempt to use the volume of accounts they serve to control the marketplace. I don’t believe this will work for two reasons.

My snail mail box is filled six days a week with spam of the paper variety. Although the cost is considerably higher, the expense does not stop unsolicited advertising. AOL and Yahoo are not going to stop spam, but they may make millions of dollars from what could almost be described as marketplace extortion.

It would be rightfully described as extortion if users didn’t have any other options available, but they do. To begin, spam traps and filters are likely continue to improve, but even if they didn’t, paid e-mail won’t work as long as there are free options available. If AOL and Yahoo think that every small company, organization, or individual that owns a domain name and corresponding mail server is going to drop their service in order to jump on board with the major corporate domains, they are sadly mistaken.

When people find that they are not getting e-mail messages from loved ones, business partners, classmates, etc., they will drop Yahoo and AOL and use one of the many free services, even if it contains a bit more spam.


Get ‘em while they are young.

The U.S. Secret Service seems to want to teach that freedom of speech is not tolerated, and the youngest pupil may be a seventh grader. Yahoo News reports that a seventh grader threatened the president in a homework essay and the child is now the subject of an investigation. The unreleased essay has been described as rambling and non-specific, but school authorities found it troubling. Daniel Burns, chairman of the West Warwick School Committee said,

“anyone that writes what’s on his mind, where he wants to do away with or kill people, it’s something you’ve got to pay attention to.”

While I understand that threatening the president is a felony, I cannot understand the inability to gauge risk. We are talking about a kid- probably an eleven year old. Surely the king’s men aren’t physically threatened by a child. Reading the article, I recalled Orwell. In 1984, children were used to inform on their parents. Mr. Burns opines,

“Someone in the 7th grade just doesn’t gather this information by themselves. I was concerned where that came from.”

Hmmm, are the parents now an item of interest? Or maybe it is the neighbor. I mean, if this is a common view, surely the feds have thought of it too.

I am more than a little concerned here. SG told us recently about that little provision in the Patriot Act which would limit free speech at any “special event of national significance.” I guess junior high is an area of national significance now, and they haven’t even passed that bullshit law yet. Many of our fellow Americans accept the death of the first amendment as a necessary casualty in our “War on Whatever” but like Stephen, I don’t. And I hope that the kid, when he is done with the shock therapy I mean counseling, has enough America left in him to speak out.


West Apologizes for Exercising Right of Freedom of Expression

This is bullshit! I have never in my life seen the entire Western world pandering to a bunch of religious wackos in such an extreme way.

Let’s review some facts here. A Danish newspaper publishes a series of cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. This severely rankles the religious sensibilities of Muslims, whose religion bans depictions of people period, let alone one of the holiest figures of their faith. Denmark has 5,432,335 people, about only 200,000 of which happen to be Muslim. That means about 3.7% of all Danes are Muslim, so clearly it’s a tiny minority group there.

But what a private company publishes in a free country with a relatively small Muslim population is apparently monumental enough for Muslims to storm Danish embassies. Not just the Danish, either! A few countries republished the cartoons in a blatant defense of freedom of speech-and their nations have had embassies attacked as well. Even unrelated nations, who happen to be a part of the European Union, have indirectly had their assets attacked when a Palestinian mob hurled stones at a European Commission building and stormed a German cultural center in Gaza City. What do the leaders of these attacks have to say for themselves?

“We should have killed all those who offend the Prophet and instead here we are, protesting peacefully,” Mahmoud Zahar, a top leader of the militant Islamic group that won the January 25 Palestinian elections, told Italian daily Il Giornale.

“We should have killed them, we should have required just punishment for those who respect neither religion nor its holiest symbols,” Zahar was quoted as saying.

Oh, how nice of you pathetic fundie bastards to allow men to live after they so criminally voiced their own opinions! see more…


Today’s Tidbits Presented Glenn Reynolds Style

In case you’ve ever wondered why people distrust the police.

Sexy libertarian writer about sexist libertarian men.

Tim Cavanaugh predicts that the GOP will retain control of the House and the Senate.

Gay marriage causes Republican corruption.

Anthony Gregory provides us with a free market excuse to quit smoking.

Is it possible to get through 24 hours without breaking any law?

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Steve Kubby: Medication Request Dropped and He May Be Released Soon

The best roundup of the latest on Steve Kubby comes from this News10 video. The rumors I’ve been getting by e-mail are true, and Kubby’s attorney has dropped the request for Kubby to use marijuana while incarcerated. His health seems stable at this time, and I imagine this is the reason for dropping the request. I’ve been out of contact with Michele for a few days, and was pleased to see her being interviewed. It sounds like there may be a deal in the works which would allow Kubby to be released and placed under house arrest.


Wanna Take a Personality Test?

Jefferson is my homeboySince we’re obviously on the political quiz kick this week, I wanted to share an experience in real life libertarian advocacy.

Last night I went out drinking with some friends here in West Cleveland, and I took a few of the Peirce for Ohio Governor promotional cards with me (my apologies for not having a photo, but needless to say it’s very professional). On one side is the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, and on the other is some, well… marketing propaganda for the Peirce campaign. I had a stack of about 40 with me when I left the house, I came back with zero.

The best part, I didn’t have to push it but on a few people, and they suddenly became viral marketers. All around the bar where we were, people were suddenly lighting up over this novel little quiz (and even though it’s obviously skewed, the general consensus was that the issues raised were timely if anything).

The crowning moment though, was when I went back to the bar counter at one point to get more drinks for our group, and… I shit you not… here’s what someone asked me: “Hey have you taken this quiz? This is fucking great!”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: liberty is already pop-culture, forget left and right… we need to brand ourselves as the party that stands up and says: “You suck, government.”

[photo from Bureaucrash store]

Update: a suggestion for The Advocates… start taking names and scores of everyone and putting them in a database for people to spread this to all their friends and to see where major celebrities rank, this was something that was asked quite often.


Congress to Outlaw First Amendment

No longer satisfied with with wiping out the middle section of the Bill of Rights with the Patriot Act, the bastards in Washington are now working on the top section, too. The First Amendment reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Contrast the First Amendment to what Fox News just reported:

A new provision tucked into the Patriot Act bill now before Congress would allow authorities to haul demonstrators at any “special event of national significance” away to jail on felony charges if they are caught breaching a security perimeter.

Sen. Arlen Specter , R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sponsored the measure, which would extend the authority of the Secret Service to allow agents to arrest people who willingly or knowingly enter a restricted area at an event, even if the president or other official normally protected by the Secret Service isn’t in attendance at the time.

They even hope to apply this rape of our most basic rights to events like the Super Bowl and Olympic venues. I don’t care what unconstitutional law they pass, anywhere I stand is a freaking free speech zone. I’ve never let such laws stop me in the past, and I won’t let them stop me in the future.


Congress Not Representative of America

As a result of my comparison of the percentage of American people who consider themselves libertarian to media coverage and congressional election results, my inbox has been filled with questions and supporting documentation. Richard Newell sent the following:

Here, side-by-side are your “Nolan chart” (house members, from Logan Ferree), and one captured from http://www.okcupid.com/politics, where the Kerry and Bush voters are plotted in blue and red. (The votes for “other” are not shown.) I rotated it to the usual rombus orientation so the charts match.

I believe it supports the contentions made by you and David Boaz, that maybe 20% of the population is more libertarian than “left” or “right”, and that the Congress, especially the Republicans, are out of touch with the people. The Republican congresscritters are all located in a fairly unpopulated (and unsavory) portion of the chart, whereas the people who voted for Bush would actually prefer more economic liberty.

While the chart (the one on the right) omits non-R&D voters, the questions are not the same, and the site from which it comes seems to have almost twice as many Democrats as Republicans taking the survey, it provides an interesting general view of how far Congress is out of line with the American public. Note the contrast in the authoritarian quadrants of the two charts, as well as in the libertarian quadrants.

Logan Ferree provided some helpful information about how he scored Congressmen on the Nolan Chart.

The Fiscal/Trade Scorecard is here: http://freedomdemocrats.org/HouseScorecard01Economic and the Social/Defense Scorecard is here: http://freedomdemocrats.org/HouseScorecard01Social I used the score for each axis to place Congressmen on the Nolan Chart. You can download the text document files and they have the information on all of the votes. I have them in two separate text files right now, placing all thirty votes together would make a pretty big file. Let me know if I can help out in any other way, I should be having a Senate Scorecard soon (Last year’s can be found on the website: http://freedomdemocrats.org/node/234). If you are interested at all in scorecards, you might want to look at other older work. I’ve done a scorecard based on the 10 key votes identified by action alerts sent out by the Liberty Committee (Ron Paul’s group) last year: http://freedomdemocrats.org/node/384 Thanks for the interest and I’ll try to answer any questions you have.

I combined his two sets of data to provide some idea of how one might index current members of Congress (based on their voting patterns). While I suspect that there would be some reversals if the Democrats had more political power right now, this Liberty Index is pretty interesting, nonetheless. Ferree has more useful data here. see more…


Internet Poll for 2008 Libertarian Prez

This poll over at The Next Prez has a somewhat realistic line-up of who will probably run. I say somewhat, because while I’d love to see Ron Paul give another go at it (I voted for him on the poll, naive that I may be), somehow I really doubt he’ll do it.

Also, check out The Next Prez’s Third Party Thursday roundup. We’re a tad over-represented as the source for the news, but there’s also some interesting news about Michael Badnarik fundraising hitting over $100K for his Congressional bid, so congrats are in order.


Call in to Penn Jillette Today

Penn Jillette Show

I’m listening right now and it seems the Penn Jillette show is having a slow call-in day. What better way to increase their call-ins than with Hammer of Truth readers?

(866) 313-FREE

Only valid until 3pm ET


USA PATRIOT Act extended one month

In the latest attempt to dodge a thorny issue, the House of Representatives has extended the USA PATRIOT Act by another month. The last time they did this was in December, when under the cover of recess Senator John Warner voted, by himself, to renew it.

The good news here is that this is only the House, which by all means is far more under neocon control than the Senate, which has enough Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans to block a renewal, which they well should.

The last time a renewal was passed, it was to give more time to deliberate on the matter. Well, the month’s up, buckos, you had your chance to deliberate. Don’t come crawling back to us with the same tired excuse because you don’t want to lose political points with “hawks.”

Oh yeah, and this little bit of Democratic cumguzzlery is ticking me off as well.

Added Rep. Jane Harmon, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee: “We must extend it, mend it, but not end it. “

The Democrats are actually afraid of Republicans on this issue, this issue that they own, this issue where the bulk of the American people are behind them. What’s the matter? Corporate money speaking too loudly? Just goes to show that the jackyderms are in this together; it’s both of them screwing us.

Well, we can hold out hope that the Democrats in the Senate will renew it for another few months, probably until after the 2006 races are over. Then, to give the appearance of difference from the Republicans, they will sell out the libertarian wing of the GOP and strike a deal with the neocons that renews most of the bullshit and scuttles maybe two or three of the sixteen most contentious points.


America: Twenty Percent Libertarian — One Percent Media Coverage

David Boaz wrote a column which was published in the WSJ. From the article:

The Gallup Poll’s annual survey on government found that 27% of Americans are conservative; 24% are liberal, up sharply because the poll was taken after Katrina, which boosted support for the proposition that “government should do more to solve our country’s problems.” Gallup also found — this year as in others — that 20% are neither liberal nor conservative but libertarian, opposing the use of government either to “promote traditional values” or to “do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses.” Another 20% are “populist” (supporting government action in both areas), with 10% undefined. Libertarian support, spread across demographic groups, is strongest among well-educated voters.

Logan Ferree just completed a set of Nolan Charts on members of the current Congress. I’ve taken his excellent work and overlayed the blues onto the reds so we can see the big picture a bit more clearly.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Congress is clearly not representative of its constituency. Boaz provides:

The worst aspect of all this is the oracles who appear on TV. You’d think they’d be thoughtful, independent. Yet they’re as partisan as the pols. The typical cable show brings viewers two guests, a liberal and a conservative. You can count on conservative writers to defend everything President Bush does, and on liberal editors to denounce the GOP — no matter what.

Boaz blames both the media and politicians for this. We can’t change the politicians until the new media becomes more dominant or the old media becomes more representative of American culture. Obviously, many of us are working hard on developing and promoting the new media, but we also need to apply even greater pressure to the old media. If the new media provides a proper balance to their coverage, they will be welcomed by most people. If they continue to disregard common and popular viewpoints, they will soon go the way of the Edsel. see more…


It’s in the Koran, Among Other Places

this bud\'s for you, allahTrevor over at the will to exist blog posted a link to this funny little music video called It’s in the Koran. The gist is that extremist muslims are simply reading the Koran (or Qu’ran, whatev) literally and doing as their Allah bids them. I have no beef with it, I laughed and I bet you will too, unless you’re a Muslim, in which case keep reading (or, considering the smackdown that we regularly lay down upon uptight people of any religion, you might want to go back whatever direction you came from).

What’s funny is that some of these pro-war people (and by pro-war I mean adventurous invasions like Iraq, Iran, Syria, not the retaliation in Afghanistan) think that we’re gonna buy this whole Islamic religious extremism as an excuse to be at war with half the Middle East. And that got me thinking: boy, there’s a whole bunch of idiots at war with each other.

The great conspiracy of 9/11 for the right is that there’s a global islamo-fascist conspiracy to topple the West. And the great conspiracy of 9/11 for the left is that there’s a global capitalism-fascist conspiracy to rule the world. Both are laughable in their overreaching ability to extend super-human abilities to the other side. Personally I don’t see George Bush or Osama bin Laden as being very bright, just charismatic in extending their message. Of course I speak from the rational position of wanting to kill OBL and anyone who calls themselves Al Qaida, and wipe my hands of the whole thing, but that’s me.

Here’s a fact, using religion and its texts as an excuse for extreme acts is as old as the dirt we stand on. Since the first day some dude decided to pray to a sun god, there was probably another dude chillin in the shade ready to slit his throat for not paying the right homage to his river god. They probably waged wars over that kind of thing for centuries. Just guessing.

So let’s dispense with the faux shock at religious extremism, islamic or otherwise and take a look at the root of the problem: willful ignorace of reality. Both sides are guilty of allowing their perception of reality to be shaped by their own worst fears of the other side, and in the end both end up fighting a bogeyman.


Two Men Facing Imminent Death at the Hands of the Drug Warriors

With the Steve Kubby story rightfully on the forefront recently, I’ve not paid the Cory Maye case as much attention as it deserves. Thanks to Radley Balko, the latest news is always available here.

Lawrence Krubner sent me an e-mail:

I’m pleased that you’ve been helping keep attention on Cory Maye’s case. Personally, it offends me that such an obvious case of self-defense got twisted by the courts into 1st degree murder. It seems to me that at most Maye should have been charged with manslaughter. I doubt he deserved even that much, but if he had he would have probably gotten about 4 to 5 years, and so he would be out this year. He deserves to be out this year, no matter how you look at it.

Myself and some like minded people have been working on a petition. Cory Maye’s story has been rare in that it has brought support from conservatives, libertarians and those on the left. We tried to word the petition in a way that all sides would be willing to sign it. We contacted dozens of webloggers from all political stripes for input. We have it up now here:


We hope to bring attention to the case of Cory Maye.

At some point this spring, we intend to print this out and mail it to the Governor of Mississippi and to all the major newspapers.

Let’s get out there and sign that petition.

We’re helping Lawrence by signing the petition and spreading the word. Hopefully, the left will help us a bit by spreading the word about Steve Kubby, who may well die (and is already suffering very poor health) much sooner than Maye.

Now to the Kubby case. Here are a few paragraphs cut from a couple of e-mail messages which provide a bit more detail on the situation. From Starchild: see more…


Student Activists Win a (Small) Retreat From the Drug Warriors

drug use and student financial aid limitationsDespite some fronts in the War on Drugs still going strong, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) has won a hard-fought victory against the drug warriors in Congress. Congress has passed a bill that revises the Higher Education Act (HEA) provision restricting eligibility for financial aid, which will be signed into law unless the President finds the veto pen he hasn’t used in six years (unlikely).

The Drug Provision of the HEA was added by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) in 1998 and restricts anyone with a drug conviction (even simple possession) from receiving Federal financial aid. That means that right now, you can get Federal education funds if you’re a convicted child-raping murderer, but not if you got busted for pot. The revision, included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, and finally on its way to the President’s desk, will make it so that only convictions while a student is enrolled in college will disqualify them from receiving aid. This means that all of those people who had brushes with the law before going to college will be allowed to move on with their lives, get financial aid, and an education.

“After years of political posturing and empty promises, Congress has finally helped some students harmed by this misguided policy,” said Kris Krane, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “But this minor change is just a ploy to sweep the penalty’s problems under the rug. Tens of thousands of students will still be pulled out of school every year because politicians failed to listen to our concerns. The only option students have left is to take action in court.”

After years of grassroots activism, including SSDP’s former President confronting the asshole Representative who started it all in his home district (video), the reform movement has a small victory for freedom. (more videos in the SSDP video gallery) The next step is getting the provision removed completely, as the congressionally-created Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance recommended in 2005.

Hat Tip: DARE Generation Diary


Republicans Redefine Nudity

Penn Jillette said he doesn’t know what “Common sense, shoved up your ellipsis” means. I thought I’d be nice enough to provide him an example.

Tax-loving Oklahoma Republican State Representative Lisa J. Billy clearly needs some common sense shoved up her ellipsis. She just proposed a bill designed to favor some businesses over others while depriving many of their First Amendment rights. She also wants to redefine sex and nudity along the way. From the Bill:

“State of nudity” means any bare exposure of the skin located on the body of a person below the armpits and above the knees.

Armpits and knees? I guess this rules out the beach and swimming pool, women wearing cropped tops, old men with wobbly knees wearing walking shorts and many baby pictures (especially those wearing only diapers). She wishes to apply this standard to sexually-oriented materials:

“Sexually-oriented materials” means any textual, pictorial, or three-dimensional material that depicts nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sadomasochistic abuse…

This seems to cover mannequins in the lingerie department, entertainment and style magazines, and good portions of The Bible. This material would be sold at a sexually-oriented business:

“Sexually-oriented business” means any business which offers its patrons goods of which a substantial portion are sexually-oriented materials. Any business where more than ten percent (10%) of display space is used for sexually-oriented materials shall be presumed to be a sexually-oriented business;

I guess the grocery store will still be legal, even if they sell Trojans and KY Jelly. Not so sure about the magazine stand at the airport, though. Many lingerie shops are described with this definition.

She’s not trying to directly outlaw the lingerie shop or bookstore, but she does plan to outlaw their right to advertise outdoors, and to prohibit minors from visiting such premises. Since bikinis are clearly sexual in nature (just ask any straight male), swim shops that market 50% of their products to women will be affected. Book store owners will have to do a count of magazines with J-Lo and Britney Spears photos so they don’t cross that 10% threshold. Victoria’s Secret will no longer be able to display its wares, and kiddies can’t tag along with mommy when she’s shopping there.

The way I figure it, HoT just shoved a verbal ellipsis up Representative Billy’s prudish ellipsis. Props.


Penn Jillette Responds to Hammer of Truth

Penn Jillette ShowPenn Jillette mentioned Hammer of Truth on air at Free FM after one of our readers (and his listeners) sent him a link to Ian’s suggestion that Penn and Teller run for president. Penn responded on air that sadly, he has no presidential aspirations at this time (start at 6:15, streaming link, mp3 link):

Penn Jillette: There’s also this letter from someone saying we should run for president.

Michael Goudeau: Yeah they just sent the link in, apparently. Yeah this is ah… Penn and Teller should run for president. [chuckle]

Jillette: It’s the Hammer of Truth, which is a website… hammeroftruth.com. Common sense, shoved up your ellipsis [laughter] I dunno what that means. It’s common sense, shoved up your ellipsis. Good. So, there’s the ads by Google put up there and of course the first one is Penn and Teller because they have “Penn and Teller for President.” And a very presidential looking picture.

Goudeau: That’s a very lovely looking photo, you guys are both in tuxedos. Looks very presidential.

Jillette: Looks very very presidential.

Goudeau: And someone… you know they have comments. You can make comments and somebody said “A vice president who was silent seems like a very good idea.”

Jillette: [laughter] But you know, I’m gonna… obviously you know that’s a joke, you know… us running for president. But I’m gonna address it seriously, because I do get asked…

Goudeau: …Because you’re insane, and you think someone really cares that you should run for president. Okay, please go ahead.

Jillette: [laughter]

Goudeau: [laughing] I’m sorry, for interrupting… sir. Can I get a job? Ambassador to Costa Rica… [laughs]

Jillette: Although… I don’t think we would consider running for president…

Goudeau: I don’t think it pays as well as… anything really.

Jillette: I don’t think so. What they do ask occassionally… the New Jersey Libertarian Party asked me to run, ah… Nevada. I don’t know how much I can talk about this because… equal time or something, but Nate Santucci… Nathan Santucci who ah… you’re tempted to call him the prop guy but we call him Director of Covert Activities… He’s in charge of all the magic in the show. And quite seriously and literally, my life is in his preparation. He sets up the bullet trick we do every night, and if Nate decides to, he can just set it up wrong and Teller and I both die. [laughter] Or the one that fires first dies… no the one that fires second dies. Nate is fabulous, and Nate is a hard-core libertarian. And Nate Santucci is running for his district.

Goudeau: City council isn’t it?

Jillette: City council! I think so. He’s gonna be running…

Goudeau: We’re allowed to talk about this as long as it hasn’t actually started…

Jillette: Is that true?

Goudeau: Yes. That’s true. According to Bob’s [garbled], as long as it hasn’t begun we can talk about it.

Jillette: So the election hasn’t started, once it’s started we can’t talk… SANTUCCI is the name! [laughter] Santucci, S-A-N-T-U-C-C-I, right? Is that how he spells it? Nathan Santucci, and you’ll be seeing signs… this goes to Vegas, we know that. Now I know New York doesn’t care, but Nathan Santucci is running for city council, and he would be so good.

I’d transcribe the rest of the interview, but there’s a lot of back and forth conversation and jokes that gives me wrist hurt pain to type. However, you should totally listen to the whole thing, be sure to check out Nathan Santucci (link to Nevada’s Clark County LP officer’s page) and thank Penn Jillette for promoting liberty and libertarianism even though he isn’t planning on running for president (boo, hiss… kidding).

And thanks to Penn for the shoutout, now we don’t need to come shove anything up his ellipsis.

Update: Woops, I guess the sidekick’s name is Michael Goudeau, I suppose I should have checked the Penn Radio website a little closer before transcribing