Author Archives: Stephen Gordon

About Stephen Gordon

I like tasteful cigars, private property, American whiskey, fast cars, hot women, pre-bailout Jeeps, fine dining, worthwhile literature, low taxes, original music, personal privacy and self-defense rights -- but not necessarily in this order.

Breaking News: LP Ballot Access Petitioners Harassed by the Cops

Sorry for not blogging anything today, but we’ve got a serious problem going on in Birmingham with the Loretta Nall ballot access drive in Alabama. The police are now demanding IDs and telling our petitioners they can’t collect signatures on public property (in this case, a sidewalk on a state university campus). We are going to talk to the police right now and see if we can sort this out.

If we can’t use public property to collect the 43,000 signatures required by state law, there is no way the signatures can be collected. Alabama already has one of the worst ballot access restrictions in the country — which is the relative equivalent of a poll tax. Now that we are beginning to raise enough money to pay the poll tax, they are blocking our access to a political race with guns. It looks like we are going to need some more financial assistance to get Nall on the ballot.

This story is still developing. I’ll update as soon as I can, unless I’m arrested…

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Sex-for-Water-Gate in Arkansas

Government figures aside, people out here in the real world are feeling the pinch of the declining value of the dollar. What happens if water (as opposed to precious metals) becomes the standard for financial transactions? This seems to be the case in Arkansas — but the story actually seems to indicate more of an abuse of power than actually trading sex for water.

Waldron’s mayor was released on a signature bond Wednesday after being accused of soliciting two women for sex after they fell behind on their water bills.

Troy Anderson, 72, is accused of abusing the public trust and patronizing a prostitute. After hearing complaints about delinquent water bills, Anderson solicited sex from the women, authorities said.

And there’s more…

The woman wore a recording device when she met Anderson at the apartment, and Anderson offered her $100 for sex, the affidavit said. She said the mayor grabbed her and exposed himself.

Another woman told investigators that she’d been having sex with Anderson for money for the past eight to 10 years. She said Anderson paid her $25 per encounter and that he allowed her to change the name on her overdue water bill, which kept her water turned on, the affidavit said.

The mayor also gave the woman $60 to pay a late water deposit in exchange for sex, the affidavit said. The woman’s bill was $617 overdue, the affidavit said.

In February, the second woman wore a recording device when Anderson picked her up for a sexual encounter that netted her $20, authorities said.

Sounds almost like our Congress and President, except they screw us and send us and our children the bill.

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Phillies Launches New Website

George Phillies has launched a new website for his Libertarian presidential campaign. Seth Cohn set up the site (full disclosure: I helped set up that deal) and it looks a whole lot better than the flat .html version Phillies started with. The site’s easy to navigate and looks clean. I’m sure there will be a lot more on the site before November 2008. Good job, Seth and George!

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Baltimore’s Finest

If anyone ever has any doubt about why so many people have contempt for police officers, read this article about recent victims of Baltimore’s finest. Here’s the meat and potatoes:

Baltimore City police arrested a Virginia couple over the weekend after they asked an officer for directions. […]

“In jail for eight hours — sleeping on a concrete floor next to a toilet,” Kelly said. […]

Hopelessly lost, relief melted away concerns after they spotted a police vehicle.

“I said, ‘Thank goodness, could you please get us to 95?” Kelly said. […]

“What she said was ‘You found your own way in here, you can find your own way out.'” Kelly said.

Collins said the couple spotted another police vehicle and flagged that officer down for directions. But Officer Natalie Preston, a six-year veteran of the force, intervened.

“That really threw us for a loop when she stepped in between our cars,” Kelly said. “(She) said my partner is not going to step in front of me and tell you directions if I’m not.” […]

Kelly said. “I obeyed everything — stepped out of the car, put my hands behind my back, and the next thing I know, I was getting arrested for trespassing.”

“By this time, I was completely in tears,” Brook said. “I said, ‘Ma’am, you know, we just need your help. We are not trying to cause you any trouble. I’m not leaving him here.’ What she did was walk over to my side of the car and said, ‘Ok, we are taking you downtown, too.'”

Collins said the couple was released from jail without being charged with anything. Brook is now concerned the arrest may complicate a criminal background check she’s going through in her job as a child care worker.

Collins said police left Kelly’s car unlocked and the windows down at the impound lot. He reported a cell phone charger, pair of sunglasses and 20 CDs were stolen.

The role of the police used to be to protect and to serve. Now it’s more like intimidate, assault, torture, kidnap and murder.

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Pot Calling the Kettle Black

Constitution: a suicide pactOne would think that a key qualification to be the executive editor of Roll Call would be a minimum level of normal intelligence. Apparently not, as Morton Kondracke said that QWest was helping terrorists by not turning over phone call records of millions of ordinary Americans to the NSA. The last time I checked, the Fourth Amendment was still in the Bill of Rights. This makes Kondrake and the NSA the bad guys — and we are their targets. Here’s the footage from Media Matters.

Props.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Here’s some history of the “Consitution is not a suicide pact” quote that was actually coined in 1949 by an anti-civil-liberties judge (it has since been flipped to be an anti-anarchy statement). The author makes a bolded distiction between when today’s judges say it and when pundits say it:

Pundits, Unlike Judges, Tend to Use the “Suicide Pact” Slogan to Defeat Civil Liberties

If judges have inverted the “suicide pact” slogan, however, pundit have hewn more closely to Jackson’s original meaning. For them, the situation seems always to be so urgent that a compromise with liberty is required.

Rather than being assured that the Constitution was not designed as, and thus will not become, a suicide pact, they are constantly worried that without an immediate crackdown, it will soon morph into just such a pact. Academics invoke “suicide pacts” in the law reviews when they want to demonstrate that they are tough-minded about hypothetical conflicts between liberty and security; editorialists do the same.

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I Wish I was a Lesbian

This one’s OK until you get to the song, then it gets pretty funny. Louden Wainwright III outlines almost all of the reasons why it’s preferable to be a lesbian. Props.

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DEA Supporting Alcohol Prohibition?

Here is a clip of Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator Karen Tandy arguing that alcohol prohibition is a good thing. Perhaps Tandy needs to read this CATO policy analysis written by my friend (and Loretta Nall donor) Mark Thornton. Here’s the executive summary:

National prohibition of alcohol (1920-33)–the “noble experiment”–was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. The results of that experiment clearly indicate that it was a miserable failure on all counts. The evidence affirms sound economic theory, which predicts that prohibition of mutually beneficial exchanges is doomed to failure

The lessons of Prohibition remain important today. They apply not only to the debate over the war on drugs but also to the mounting efforts to drastically reduce access to alcohol and tobacco and to such issues as censorship and bans on insider trading, abortion, and gambling.

Although consumption of alcohol fell at the beginning of Prohibition, it subsequently increased. Alcohol became more dangerous to consume; crime increased and became “organized”; the court and prison systems were stretched to the breaking point; and corruption of public officials was rampant. No measurable gains were made in productivity or reduced absenteeism. Prohibition removed a significant source of tax revenue and greatly increased government spending. It led many drinkers to switch to opium, marijuana, patent medicines, cocaine, and other dangerous substances that they would have been unlikely to encounter in the absence of Prohibition. Those results are documented from a variety of sources, most of which, ironically, are the work of supporters of Prohibition–most economists and social scientists supported it. Their findings make the case against Prohibition that much stronger.

Props.

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Fixing Electoral Problems in Alabama

iraqballotaccess.gifThe Alabama Secretary of State race is starting to become a bit interesting. Beth Chapman, the Republican candidate, has been receiving ink for this recent publicity stunt:

Secretary of State Nancy Worley, a Democrat, has accused Republican Beth Chapman of politicizing the voting process by promising to watch polls in a heavily Democratic county and offering monetary rewards to voter fraud whistleblowers.

Chapman, the state auditor running for secretary of state, announced her plans last week in a made-for-TV news conference, complete with Chapman and a group of Hale County voters raising purple index fingers, a la Iraq, in support of honest elections.

The heat started for the incumbent Democrat Nancy Worley (site down at this moment) shortly after she was elected. One of her first official acts after taking office was screwing the taxpayers:

As the 2003 fiscal year neared an end she learned that there was some unspent money in her budget which if not spent would have to be refunded to the General Fund on Sept. 30. Her choices were two: Spend it or refund it.

Very quickly she found a way to spend it – she bought herself a new “set of wheels”, as we used to say up home. She went to a Ford dealership in Huntsville and drove out with $30,275 V-8 Eddie Bauer Expedition, which included $7,831 in upgrades.

Mind you, only days before she had announced that five employees in her office would be laid off on Sept. 30 due to the financial crisis.

When asked why she couldn’t have been content with a Ford Taurus which she could have bought for about $11,000 she replied that the $19,000 difference wouldn’t have saved anyone’s job.

Worley is now in a pissing match with Chapman over the cash for fraud gimmick:

Worley said offering cash rewards could lead citizens to manufacture fraud that they could then report. “We should encourage all Alabamians to follow the law, not offer them monetary rewards to do what is right,” she said.

On June 6, Worley will face Ed Packard, one of her employees in the state elections division, for the Democratic nomination. Packard has filed a complaint with the state AG because of Worley’s campaign activities:

An employee and political rival of Secretary of State Nancy Worley says she has asked her employees to contribute to her re-election campaign in apparent violation of state law.

Ed Packard, director of the elections division in the secretary of state’s office, filed a complaint Tuesday with Republican Attorney General Troy King alleging Worley sent letters to employees that included pledge cards for her campaign.

As there is no third party or independent candidate in this race, I’ve had to take a look at candidates the two big parties. Obviously, any ethical person will dismiss any consideration of voting for Worley for the reasons outlined above. see more…

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Ann Coulter’s Gender: Inquiring Minds Still Want to Know

coulteradamsapple.jpgWhen an article begins like this, I’ve got to read the whole thing:

What was that sound on the phone just now? A NSA goon slurping his coffee? We are all wondering if that is static we hear on the line today or Big Brother. And we have also learned that Big Brother has a sister, and her name is Ann Coulter.

Melinda Pillsbury-Foster was writing about Ann Coulter acknowledging the covert NeoCon war on Americans. While the topic is interesting, it’s this little gem that had me LMAO:

Is Ann Coulter a female? While the answer would appear to be obvious; she is after all, blond, curvy, and attractive, real affirmation is not in evidence. Coulter is a fag hag, her best friends are gay. She has never married or evidently been in a long term relationship and she has had no children and is nearly menopausal.

So is she or isn’t she female? Rumors includes the titillating piece of gossip that she might not really know herself. Coulter could have been born with both and had her parents pick wrong. It happens. That would explain the hysterically violent tone in her writing and other signs noted elsewhere. So how can Coulter prove her gender?

I suggest that we turn to the Daughters of the American Revolution. They can oversee a DNA test that will settle the question This is appropriate because Ann is a member of that rectitudinous body and if the lovely Ann is not really female the DAR would certainly want to know that so her membership could be shifted to the Sons of the American Revolution. That would made for interesting meetings.

Inquiring minds want to know and all it takes is a swab from the inside of the mouth, not nearly as intrusive as Ann’s rhetoric I might add.

Hey, Ann, come on. Give us a pic. We want to know if NeoCons really have balls or not.

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Best Headline Ever

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

Drug Czar Jailed For 22 Years

From AHN via Pete.

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Religion and Politics Mixing Like Oil and Water

Is there a political cost to the use of religious rhetoric in politics? This study coming from Afghanistan Alabama suggests there may be, even in the land where the Taliban Republicans try to raise taxes in the name of Jesus or worship graven images for political gain.

Politicians engaging in religious rhetoric risk being called hypocrites, according to a new study by University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) researchers. The phenomenon is called the Pharisee Effect and is based on biblical references to Jesus’ rebuke of religious leaders, known as the Pharisees, for using public prayers to enhance their own image. The theoretical study appears in the latest issue of The Journal of Communication and Religion.

The Pharisees’ public piety made them subject to accusations of insincerity and hypocrisy. The same accusations can be leveled against politicians who make religious appeals, say study authors Larry Powell, Ph.D., and Eduardo Neiva, Ph.D. Political leaders like former President Ronald Reagan successfully used religious appeals to win over groups like the Christian Coalition. But such efforts can backfire, say Powell and Neiva. They say claims of religiosity in the political context actually encourage an escalating exchange of messages between competing candidates until eventually one candidate’s rhetoric ““ in the eyes of voters ““ goes too far.

When a religious appeal goes too far, audiences’ negative reactions can fall into five different categories, say Powell and Neiva. The categories are: self-serving motivations or intentionality; deception or hypocrisy; inappropriateness; fanaticism; and the holier-than-thou attitude. Any of the five evaluations can cause the public to reject the candidate, his or her ideas, or both.

Alabama rejected the raise taxes for Jesus approach in 2003; perhaps America will learn to reject it, too.

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Jumping in the Hot Tub

Speaking of hot tubs, Paul Trujillo just decided to test the water.

Incumbent Paul Trujillo decided before the major party filing in date on March 21 to change parties. He has switched from the Democratic Party to the Libertarian Party officially on May 4.

Because of that decision, Trujillo said he will file his candidacy the day after the major parties primaries.

“I think, at this level of government, there shouldn’t be parties. It’s more like a municipal council or school board,” he said about being affiliated with a major party. “It’s different if it’s a state office where there is a larger population and larger area to represent.”

County Democratic Party Chairman Moises Griego said he was sorry Trujillo left the party but that the party has two good candidates representing it in the race. […]

Trujillo said he selected the Libertarian Party because its philosophies resonate best with him.

The national organization’s Web site says that Libertarians “are neither liberal nor conservative, but rather advocate a high degree of both personal and economic liberty. Libertarians believe that you have the right to live your life as you wish, without the government interfering, as long as you don’t violate the rights of others,” it said.

However, Trujillo says he’s not an ideologist no matter which party he joins.

“I don’t follow ideology. I listen to the situation and see what can be done in that situation,” he said. “And, as far as the county government is concerned, I believe the problems facing the county are not partisan problems. It doesn’t matter what party the constituents are affiliated with, as a commissioner I am serving them all.”

Welcome aboard!

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Keeping Big Brother Out of My Hot Tub

So, libertarians: It’s time to get out of that hot tub! Put down that wrench! And start thinking about how you’re going to reclaim your rightful place in the conservative coalition.“– Ryan Sager

Ryan Sager wrote an interesting article yesterday suggesting that, as Nick Gillespie words it, libertarians “are as ‘politically impotent’ as Bob Dole sans Viagra, Pepsi, and Britney Spears commercials.” Sager suggests that we should pop the GOP Viagra (which, interestingly enough, is a blue pill) in order to “reclaim [our] rightful place in the conservative coalition.”

Sager’s general theme seems to be that libertarians should form a coalition with conservatives to force the Republican Party to become more fiscally responsible. The Cranky Insomniac suggests that it will be difficult for such a coalition to work because of the influence of the religious right in the conservative movement:

If these people feel strongly enough about these issues to join the party least likely to match their economic views, there’s no way in hell they’re “coming home” to the modern avatar of the Republican party unless the party fundamentally alters its relationship with fundamentalists. And it’s here that the libertarians lose the numbers game, at least as long as 60% of them will seemingly vote Republican regardless of in what direction the party moves. To do what it would have to do to get these Democratic libertarians to come its way, the GOP would more than likely lose much of its vaunted “base,” a loss that would hurt it far more than losing those libertarians does.

I’m in general agreement with Cranky. The issues which seperate libertarians from “traditional” conservatives are the ones people often become the most emotional about: Gay rights, abortion, civil liberties, foreign policy and drug policy.

I note that Sager suggests that libertarians align with the Republican Party, but I didn’t notice him suggesting any sort of alliance with the Democrats. I’d argue that aligning with the left makes more sense at the moment. This is not because the left has any valid claims of moral superiority (they don’t), but because they are out of power and wish to regain it. I’d expect them to govern just as poorly as Republicans if they win back control of Congress, though. But at least some of them are campaigning about the right things, while most Republicans are focusing on gay bashing or treading on the edge of racism with respect to immigration policy.

The Howard Dean campaign was certainly more libertarian than the Bush campaign. Dean was embraced by the NRA and cut spending in Vermont. The GOP has made no progress in the restoration of Second Amendment rights, despite controlling both houses of Congress and the White House. As a matter of fact, Bush had stated his intention to sign an extension of the Assault Weapons Ban. While Republicans might have rightfully complained about Dean’s single-payer health care plan, they seem to forget that the GOP just passed what Ron Paul called “the single largest expansion of the federal welfare state since the Great Society programs of the 1960s.”

I doubt that libertarians and groups on the left could maintain an effective coalition for very long. Despite it’s poor electoral track record, I don’t see any long-term libertarian home outside of the independent movement or Libertarian Party.

Sager commented that I accused him of being a conservative. He totally ignored third party and independent solutions or coalitions in his article. He never looked at the left side of the arguments or even approached issues like how to keep the government out of our hot tubs. Using the traditional two party spectrum, right is conservative. If the shoe fits…

While being able to afford a hot tub is crucial to libertarians, knowing that what happens in the hot tub stays in the hot tub is equally important.

Sorry about the mental image on that one, but you get the point.

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Georgia’s Gay Marriage Ban Loses with Judicial TKO

Oopsie! They put too many subjects on the ballot (apparently only one is allowed) and Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance C. Russell has at least temporarily killed Georgia’s ban on same-sex marriages. From MTV:

“People who believe marriages between men and women should have a unique and privileged place in our society may also believe that same-sex relationships should have some place “” although not marriage,” Russell wrote. “The single-subject rule protects the right of those people to hold both views and reflect both judgments by their vote.”

Gay-rights supporters had been anxiously awaiting Russell’s ruling since Jack Senterfitt, representing the gay-rights organization Lambda Legal, challenged the amendment in November 2004.

Aaron Margolis calls this legislating “immorality form [sic] the bench.” His prefered mechanism of morality seems to be wiping entire countries off the map and making illegal immigration a capital crime.

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DOD Releases 9/11 Pentagon Footage

I’ve been trying to post this all day, but keep getting caught up in other issues. There is now so much out there that I’d use Google or Technorati to get the full load of commentary about the United Flight 77 video being released today. Judicial Watch gets the big props on this one, as they are the one who really pushed for the release of the film. From their release:

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that Department of Defense released a videotape to Judicial Watch at 1:00 p.m. this afternoon that shows American Airlines Flight 77 striking the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The Department of Defense released the videotape in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act request and related lawsuit.

“This is in response to your December 14, 2004 Freedom of Information Act Request, FOIA appeal of March 27, 2005, and complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia,” wrote William Kammer, Chief of the Department of Defense, Office of Freedom of Information. “Now that the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui is over, we are able to complete your request and provide the video.”

Judicial Watch originally filed a Freedom of Information Act request on December 15, 2004, seeking all records pertaining to September 11, 2001 camera recordings of the Pentagon attack from the Sheraton National Hotel, the Nexcomm/Citgo gas station, Pentagon security cameras and the Virginia Department of Transportation. The Department of Defense admitted in a January 26, 2005 letter that it possessed a videotape responsive to Judicial Watch’s request. However, the Pentagon refused to release the videotape because it was, “part of an ongoing investigation involving Zacarias Moussaoui.” Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on February 22, 2006 arguing that there was “no legal basis” for the Defense Department’s refusal to release the tape.

“We fought hard to obtain this video because we felt that it was very important to complete the public record with respect to the terrorist attacks of September 11,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“Finally, we hope that this video will put to rest the conspiracy theories involving American Airlines Flight 77. As always, our prayers remain with all those who suffered as a result of those murderous attacks.”

Here’s the video:

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