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.

Congress Trying to Screw High School Students as Sneakily as a Catholic Priest

Congress is trying to screw over high school students. Fortunately, readers of this blog alreadly know how to read a bill and respond with appropriate letters to Congress. Here’s the link to respond to Congress. Because of the rules on this piece of crap legislation, we only need 1/3 of the vote to kill the bill. The text of the bill is below the fold. see more…


Transcript of Medical Marijuana Debate between ONDCP and MPP/DPA

Below is an unedited transcript of a recent debate between Dr. David Murray, Special Assistant to the Director the Office of National Drug Control Policy and two drug policy reformers: Rob Kampia, the Executive Director and co-founder Marijuana Policy Project and Ethan Nadelmann, Founder and Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. I recieved the transcript by e-mail from Bruce Mirken of MPP and am cutting and pasting it unedited below the fold. Enjoy!

see more…


Lies, Damn Lies, and Sekula-Gibbs

gibbsnose2.JPGHere’s a fictitious survey question for you:

If Thomas Jefferson Were On The Ballot, For Whom Would You Vote?

a) Jefferson
b) Pelosi
c) Other/undec

One would guess that Jefferson would win such a poll question, but what difference would it make? Even most nitwits would realize that Jefferson isn’t on the ballot.

Apparently, the Hyphen Lady is touting such a poll to indicate that her write-in campaign will beat Nick Lampson in Texas CD-22. From Chris Elam’s blog:

I’m sure that this is true. IF Sekula-Gibbs were on the ballot in a head-to-head matchup against Slick Nick, she would get the majority of the vote in this heavily GOP district – I have absolutely no doubt about that. Unfortunately for the GOP, she’s not. Lampson was smart enough to stay out of the special, so there isn’t even that faint glimmer of hope to look forward to.

I’m all for touting great poll numbers, and I’ve got no reason to suspect that those results are anything but accurate. But the question is a “what if”, that we could have avoided a long time ago if Tom DeLay had simply decided not to run for re-election in the primary. In the meanwhile, the rest of us do what we can to keep the seat red.

Let’s rephrase our fictitious little question a bit:

If John Kerry Were On The Ballot, For Whom Would You Vote?

a) Badnarik (or Nader or Cobb, take your pick)
b) Kerry
c) Other/undec

What if Kerry had won this poll and stated he was going to win the 2004 election based on these data? We’d be laughing at him because Bush’s name was excluded from the survey. It would be laughable, except for the fact that Hyphen Lady did the exact same thing when she excluded Libertarian Bob Smither (who is actually on the ballot, receiving local and national media and endorsements, etc.) from the poll. Here’s what Elam reports about the polling question under question:

A Baselice & Associates (R) poll; conducted 8/23-24 for Houston City Councilmember Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R); surveyed 401 RVs; margin of error +/- 4.9% (release, 9/11). Tested: Ex-Rep. Nick Lampson (D) and Sekula-Gibbs.

If Sekula-Gibbs Were On The Ballot, For Whom Would You Vote?

Sekula-Gibbs – 46%
Lampson – 35%
Other/undec – 19%

Hyphen Lady (as well as Texas GOP Chair Tina Benkiser) is touting a poll which implies she is on the ballot, one which also excludes one of the major candidates in the race. That’s like some nerdy high school girl bragging that she’s going to be prom queen when she doesn’t even have a date or proper clothing to wear to the event.

Democrat Nick Lampson is calling this a push poll, a process which he defines as such:

A push poll is a telephone interview, which tries to disguise itself as a poll, but is really just an effort to push negative and often untrue information about an opponent to households within the district. Our opponent’s poll was filled with inaccuracies and outright lies about Nick Lampson’s record.

I’ll provide that the question may be a proper one, as it does give the Hyphen Lady campaign some idea of her potential base. However, citing such a poll as evidence of leading in a political race is like calling George W. Bush a fiscal conservative — any casual observer can see the lie in the numbers. I don’t have the full survey information in front of me, but if they happened to have provided leading or distorted information ahead of the bogus preference question they asked, it could likely be an ethical violation:

While real pollsters do sometimes give interviewees new information about a candidate, the intent of this process is not to shift public opinion but to simulate potential campaign debate and to asses how the voter might respond. So-called “push-polls” are designed specifically to persuade.

I’m fairly used to the old arguments about excluding third party candidates from the polls, but these arguments don’t even carry a single drop of water in this case. Additionally, voter discontent with the Republican machine expands well beyond The Hammer of Ethics Tom DeLay‘s former district. It’s premature to tell how much Libertarians will gain from this, but Vermont’s primary elections on Tuesday provide an early indicator.

Vermont is a fusion state, and several Libertarian Party members ran in either the Republican or Democratic primaries for State Representative seats. Of the three Libertarian-Republicans who ran against more mainstream Republicans in the state, ALL THREE WON. In other words, when given a choice between a mainstream Republican and someone who advocates fiscal conservatism, the Libertarians won. To be sure, the situations aren’t totally analogous. However, when was the last time there was no Republican on the ballot in a 65 percent Republican congressional district? Especially one with a reasonable Libertarian alternative.

Voters are tired of the lies and deception from both major parties. They are also tired of tax-and-spend Republicans. The voters of Texas 22 have the opportunity to set an example for the rest of the country by voting for Bob Smither (on both ballots) in November.


Micro (brewed) Economics

jennadrunk.jpgThe latest data seems to suggest that drinking alcoholic beverages increases your paycheck. Here’s a portion of the Reason Foundation’s press release:

Numerous studies have shown moderate alcohol use can have important health benefits and now a new report finds drinking can help your wallet too.

Drinkers earn 10 to 14 percent more money at their jobs than nondrinkers and men who drink socially, visiting a bar at least once a month, bring home an additional 7 percent in pay, according to a new Reason Foundation report by economists Bethany Peters, Ph.D., and Edward Stringham, Ph.D.

“Social drinking builds social capital,” said Stringham, an economics professor at San Jose State University. “Social drinkers are networking, building relationships, and adding contacts to their Blackberries that result in bigger paychecks.”

The study finds that men who drink earn 10 percent more than abstainers and women drinkers earn 14 percent more than nondrinkers. However, unlike men, who get an additional income boost from drinking in bars, women who frequent bars at least once per month do not show higher earnings than women who do not visit bars.

Not happy with a drinking age of 21, the prohibitionists continue to push public policy in ways which make it more difficult to drink in public places, ranging from drinking restrictions on or near campuses to smoking bans in many cities to ongoing efforts to further pursue drunk drivers — who, in some cases, weren’t even driving. Perhaps a future study of the lifetime earnings of those who drank in college is in order. I’d suggest that those who learn to drink responsibly before they turn 21 probably have a higher earning potential than the non-drinkers.

While Reason‘s Nick Gillespie was on CNBC explaining the study tonight, the television program provided a factoid suggesting that Americans spend $120,000,000,000 per year on alcoholic beverages. This incredible sum of money illustrates that most Americans are at odds with their prohibitionistic policy makers. The authors of the study concluded that rather than discouraging drinking in society, “perhaps we should encourage it.”

I’ll drink to that!

Disclaimer: I engaged in alcohol-related social networking at a bar last night, and Gillespie (thanks, Nick!) bought me a drink. Perhaps both of us can anticipate a payraise soon.


Vote like a butterfly; sting like a bee

I’ve been rather verbose pertaining to political commentary for years, but I’ve absolutely no freaking clue what to say about DC mayoral candidate Vincent Orange‘s rather unique video spot. Perhaps he should use this advertisement for a “Special” Election, as opposed to a Primary.


Nothing to fear but government itself

According to Wired, you are more likely to die from law enforcement than from terrorism. As a matter of fact, you’re 80 times as likely to die driving off the road — but hopefully not in this auto-erotic manner.

Here’s their assessment:

Sept. 11, 2001 was undoubtedly one of the darkest and deadliest days in United States history. Al-Qaida’s attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center killed 2,976 people, and the country recoiled in horror as we witnessed the death of thousands of Americans when the towers fell.

In the five years since that shattering day, the government has spent billions on anti-terrorism projects, instituted a color-coded alert system that has never been green, banned fingernail clippers and water bottles from airplanes, launched a pre-emptive war on false pretenses, and advised citizens to stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting.

But despite the never-ending litany of warnings and endless stories of half-baked plots foiled, how likely are you, statistically speaking, to die from a terrorist attack?

Comparing official mortality data with the number of Americans who have been killed inside the United States by terrorism since the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma reveals that scores of threats are far more likely to kill an American than any terrorist — at least, statistically speaking.

In fact, your appendix is more likely to kill you than al-Qaida is.

Perhaps they could allow us to take common items on airplanes (which don’t even rank on the chart) again and restore our emphasis from “law enforcement” to “protect and serve.”

Driving off the road: 254,419
Falling: 146,542
Accidental poisoning: 140,327

Dying from work: 59,730
Walking down the street: 52,000.
Accidentally drowning: 38,302

Killed by the flu: 19,415
Dying from a hernia: 16,742

Accidental firing of a gun: 8,536
Electrocution: 5,171

Being shot by law enforcement: 3,949
Terrorism: 3147
Carbon monoxide in products: 1,554

Chart courtesy of Wired.


Major Break in the Cory Maye Case

lynchmob.jpgOnce again, Radley Balko is “da man” with respect to the Cory Maye case. In addition to the great article (reminder for me to update his wiki) he wrote for Reason (not available online), Balko just informed us of what could be the major breakthrough in the blogosphere’s attempt to free Maye:

One of the Covington attorneys noticed early after they took the case that the autopsy on Ron Jones reported that Jones had written a phone number on his hand. The team hired a private investigator, and after some leg work, managed to track down the guy who owned the number at the time of the raid.

Gold. The number eventually led to the informant who tipped Ron Jones off to the raid on the Cory Maye-Jamie Smith duplex. The guy’s a real piece of work. I can’t go into too much detail right now, but the story the informant told Covington’s private investigator is dramatically different than the description given in Ron Jones’ affidavits for the search warrants. The details between the two accounts aren’t even close. I’ll get into the rammifications of the discprencies a bit later.

For now? Well, here’s where it gets fun.

After the guy realized the investigator was working for the defense team, he clammed up. When Bob Evans — Cory Maye’s lead attorney — called to tell him that if he didn’t talk, they’d compell his testimony with a subpeona, the informant flipped out. He called Evans, and left a rant on Evans’ answering maching that, when Evans played it for me the other night, blew my mind. It’s a 45-second clip of absolute fury, brimming with f-bombs, anger, hate, and — by my count — at least four utterances of the word “nigger.”

This is the “trustworthy” informant whose tip led to the raid on Cory Maye’s home. An unabashed bigot. Makes you wonder how many other black people have been raided, arrested, and imprisoned based on this guy’s tips. Not to mention how many ignoramouses like him are still turning people in down in Mississippi — or, for that matter, anywhere else.

The obvious question is why Maye’s earlier attorney, Rhonda Cooper, didn’t explore such an obvious line of investigation. If she had, Maye might not be sitting on death row at this moment.

If it wasn’t for Balko’s tireless efforts on Maye’s behalf, this story would never have seen the light of day. I’d like to take this time to thank him for his ongoing work to see that justice is finally served in the Maye case, as well as his studies which expose the problems we have in our law enforcement system which allowed such a travesty to occur in the first place.

I’ll be at an event on Wednesday where Balko will be a “special guest star.” It would be neat if I could hand him a printout of this posting where you all have given him a lot of high-fives (or other commentary) in the comment section. Radley Balko really deserves it!


Is the LP a Political Party?

Lew Rockwell just beat up on the Libertarian Party. The main thrust of his article is about changes to the platform at the Libertarian National Convention, but I’ll leave that issue alone. Brian Dougherty covered the issue for Reason magazine — and he was actually in Portland, unlike Rockwell. Additionally, George Squyres, who chairs the Platform Committee, has provided his perspective twice (1, 2) about the issue. Here’s the point by Rockwell which bothers me:

But you know what? The LP was not founded to get people elected to office. It was founded to oppose the regime and educate the public, and use elections as the vehicle to do so. The American system of government and elections is set up and managed to accommodate two parties. The idea of becoming a third party was only to underscore the evil and trickery of the system.

The last time I checked, the Libertarian Party was a political party. Sure, education (and opposing the regime) are necessary parts of politics. But so are supporting political campaigns and organizing affiliated parties at a state and local level. The pertinent portion of the mission statement of the Libertarian Educational Organization Party provides that the purpose of the LP is to move “public policy in a libertarian direction by building a political party that elects Libertarians to public office.”

Rockwell may not agree with this portion of the LP bylaws, but it exists, nonetheless. If the role of the Libertarian Party is to merely be an educational organization, perhaps we should reorganize as a 501C3 and change our name. It’s more honest this way.

If we call ourselves a political party, raise funds for our candidates and to try to obtain votes on Election Day without actually intending (and trying) to become elected then we’ve misled the public and violated their trust. To intentionally misrepresent our motivation while obtaining donations, volunteer time or votes is tantamount to fraud.

I’m in it to win elections using the tools (like databases, GOTV efforts, mailing lists, websites, party organization and networking, professional staffs, surveys and polling, commercial advertising, door knocking, etc.) Republicans and Democrats use to win their races. Before the accusations start flying, I’m not suggesting watering down the message — merely targeting portions of the message effectively in order to increase vote totals on Election Day.

Many people cast votes (as well as donating time and money) for our candidates in hopes that we do well or actually win elections. What I am suggesting is that if we call ourselves the Libertarian Party and run candidates in elections merely for the purpose of education, we are being less than honest. The last time I checked, such actions were pretty non-libertarian.


Reason: Free Maye and Not-So-Free Ova

cover.jpgYou’ve probably noticed that I don’t plug books or magazines at HoT very often. To be sure, I only subscribe to two magazines: Reason and Campaigns and Elections.

There have been three recent editions of Reason that stand out in my mind. One of them, which came out before all of us techno-geeks became obsessed with Google Maps, had a satellite image of each subscriber’s unique house on it. It’s the only issue I didn’t receive in the mail in a timely manner. I assume some postal worker was as impressed as I was with their timely techno-gimmick. When I called to inform them I missed my copy, they sent me another one — albeit without my house on the cover.

The recent issue featuring immigration issues was superior to any coverage of the topic I’ve seen in any print media. They covered the immigration issue from many angles in an interesting (and often thought provoking) manner.

This latest issue is even better. Perhaps the most important reason is that Radley Balko covered the entire Cory Maye issue — from the historical perspective to his unique view after visiting Prentiss, Mississippi to his indictment of no-knock raids in general. Anyone who follows this blog knows how important I find the Cory Maye story and how hard I’ve pushed it. Not only is it one which unites the left, right and libertarians on a single issue, it also highlights a lot of what’s wrong with the drug war, racism, and southern justice in general.

BTW, I got an opportunity to thank Balko in person at a DC event last month for his work on the Cory Maye issue. If not for his dedicated work, there wouldn’t even be any hope for justice in this case. Also, if you live in Mississippi and happen to read this, make sure you don’t (even if a dedicated Republican) ever vote for Haley Barbour. His indifference to life and death as well as right and wrong should make him unpalatable to any rational person in the state. Keep in mind that I’m not some northern carpet-bagging interloper — I come from right next door in Alabama.

Another highlight of this month’s Reason is an adaptation from something John Stossel wrote about how difficult it is to terminate crappy (or criminal or sexually deviate, in some cases) public school teachers. They flow-charted the process, one which consumes four entire pages. In other words, there is one more fold on the chart than for a Playboy centerfold.

For any of you involved in education reform, the graphic is something which can be used in school board, city council, or state legislative sessions or hearings. It’s also a great campaign tool for those of you engaged in politics.

The cover story is interesting, too. I’ll go ahead and spoil the end as the article in the middle is much more interesting. A mystery writer dubbed “Donor #15” described the process of selling her eggs (or aigs for the weekends I spend in Alabama) for $10K. In other words, she got thousands of dollars to let a doctor take some of the waste material that mother nature expels every lunar month. It really put a free market perspective to the phrase “that time of the month.”

I’d just started reading the article and thought the person writing it might be Kerry Howley. After she described her physical appearance, I was more convinced that #15 might be Howley. The cover picture could be of her, but I’m not sure though, as her skin seems a bit darker in real life. My wife and I are still betting on this one.

I’m not getting paid to suggest that you subcribe to Reason. However, everyone has time they need to read something in print, as opposed to online. It could be on the train on your way to work, the airplane before they let you fire up your electronic devices (sex toy innuendo not intentional or even suggested, in some cases at least), or simply when sitting on the can (I’m sure Nick Gillespie will beat up on me for this one the next time we meet).

There’s a place for online publications and a place for printed media in today’s world. In general, the new theme for monthly print publications which wish to survive is to ensure that the depth and analysis in the issue lives longer than the time increment before the next one arrives in the mail. Unlike most print publications, Reason is consistently accomplishing and generally exceeding this goal.


ABC Upset that Libertarians Make Better Lovers

Here is E Online’s take on the situation:

The Alphabet Net is calling foul after a rough cut of a sex scene from the upcoming season of Desperate Housewives was leaked on YouTube nearly a month before the steamy footage was slated to air.

“We are looking into the unauthorized clips of Desperate Housewives on YouTube, and will be having them taken down,” an ABC rep said Friday.

The time-stamped, though fully edited, clip runs just over a minute and was made available by two separate YouTube posters–or at least by a YouTube devotee with more than one screen name–last Sunday. As of Friday morning, just one of the posts remained watchable.

The scene features Bree (Marcia Cross) and new boytoy Orson (Kyle MacLachlan) in bed, with the underwear-clad housewife protesting her partner’s attempt to give her oral sex.

“I don’t do that,” she says. “I’m a Republican.”

“I’m a Libertarian,” Orson replies. “I believe in minimizing the role of the state and maximizing individual rights. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”

The video, while it lasted, was funny as hell. I initially found out about the now banned video here. If anyone gets a link to the footage, please pass it on. Here’s additional background on the story.

It’s absolutely vital that this video remain on YouTube. If Republicans can learn to enjoy oral sex, perhaps they won’t reproduce quite so often.

BTW, the women I’m hanging with today have decided that they clearly aren’t Republicans.



Your Government on Drugs

This is drugs.
These are your liberties.
And this is the government.
Any questions?
” – Penn Jillette

H/T to ChildMo.


Cheech and Chong on the Immigration Issue

“I have to tell you that we are facing a situation, where if we don’t control immigration, legal and illegal, we will eventually reach the point where it won’t be what kind of a nation we are, balkanized or united, we will actually have to face the fact that we are no longer a nation at all.” — Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO)

Is Tancredo really afraid of white children dating someone named Juanita or having a “son-in-law named” Pablo? In contrast, here’s a YouTube of Steve Kubby’s old roommate’s approach to immigration issues:


Defining the Goldwater Legacy: Conservative, Liberal or Libertarian?

NRO’s Jonah Goldberg recently accused libertarians of defecating on cultural tradition, but now it seems that he’s excreting his social agenda on the small government half of the conservative movement. Fortunately, Reason‘s Nick Gillespie was up to the task of defending libertarianism (while passing out free t-shirts) during that battle, but the war rages on. In an effort to paint the late Barry Goldwater as a fag-hating Christian Coalition wannabe, Goldberg chooses to beat up on John Dean for this:

The Bush-Cheney White House, Dean assures us, has betrayed the Goldwater tradition: “Bible-thumping, finger-pointing, tongue-lashing attacks on homosexuals are not found in Russell Kirk’s classic conservative canons, nor in James Burnham’s guides to conservative governing.”

Goldberg’s article trashes Goldwater’s granddaughter for her HBO documentary “Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater,” which I seriously hope isn’t some sort of sexual euphemism. As I haven’t seen it yet, I’ll refrain from speculative commentary on the topic. If Goldberg is correct in that the film portrays Goldwater as some sort of extreme bedwetting liberal, I’ll certainly stand by Goldberg in defense of Goldwater against such charges.

In the meantime, Goldberg seems to feel that Goldwater was some sort of socially intolerant bigot. In a recent Playboy article, Dean suggested something Goldberg should perhaps dig into a bit. Here’s a clip from my review of Dean’s article:

Dean, a self-identified Goldwater conservative, took a stab at answering these and related questions in his article entitled “Radicals on the Rise.” Using the work of Bob Altemeyer; who penned Right-Wing Authoritarianism, Enemies of Freedom: Understanding Right Wing Authoritarianism and The Authoritarian Specter; Dean took a look at the personality traits of some conservatives. He found that the following common traits tend to exist among right-wing authoritarians:

These men and women are typically conventional in their ways and highly religious with moderate to little education; their prejudices (particularly against homosexuals, women and religions other than their own) are often conspicuous; they are mean-spirited, narrow-minded and intolerant; they are uncritical in their thinking regarding their chosen authority and therefore hold inconsistent and contradictory positions; they are prone to panic, highly self-righteous, moralistic and punitive; they throw the book at others when punishing; and they have little self-awareness.

He stated that Altemeyer told him this group would “attack France, Massachusetts or the moon” if the president pushed the idea. His critique of socially dominating authoritarian leaders was more damning:

They are typically dominating men who constantly seek personal power for themselves; they have an amoral view of the world; they intimidate and bully as a matter of course; they are faintly hedonistic and generally vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, and dishonest; they are highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, homophobic), mean-spirited, militant and nationalistic; they tell others what they want to hear, will take advantage of suckers, and they often create false images of themselves to achieve their goals.

He then brought to our attention the truly scary people: the ones who score high on both the authoritarian and the leader scale. He categorized Karl Rove as a right-wing follower and Bill Frist as a socially dominating authoritarian. Obviously, Hitler was the prototypical example of one who scored high on both scales. Dick Cheney served as a more recent example of a “double high.”

What Goldberg doesn’t seem to understand is that he’s one of those authoritarians Dean, Altemeyer and even our referenced survey on the issue illustrate. Goldberg is a bright guy and he seemed to be on the verge of “getting it” with this statement:

Still, what confuses many people is this idea that social conservatism and small-government conservatism are inherently at odds. They surely can be “” and I’d love for this administration to channel more of Goldwater’s libertarian sentiments.

Goldberg lost it when he pulled up this quote from long before Goldwater’s libertarian epiphany, though.

But Goldwater understood something this crowd doesn’t. “It is impossible to maintain freedom and order and justice,” he declared in 1964, “without religious and moral sanctions.”

Perhaps if Goldberg had lived under Taliban rule for a few years, he’d be willing to give up those religious and moral sanctions he finds so dear.


The Great Islamofascist Penis Pump Conspiracy

pumpitup.gifWanna know how to tell when they’ve taken airport security precautions too seriously? It’s not the bottle of contraband nail polish they “stole” from my wife last weekend. It’s not even when they busted Rush Limbaugh for not being able to get it up without chemical enhancement. It’s penis pumps!

Fear of being caught with such a lethal device, according to this report, led the notorious culprit to confess to carrying a bomb. Here’s the down and dirty:

Cook County prosecutors say a 29-year-old man traveling with his mother desperately didn’t want her to know he’d packed a sexual aid for their trip to Turkey. So he told security it was a bomb, officials said.

Madin Azad Amin was stopped by officials on Aug. 16 after guards found an object in his baggage that resembled a grenade, prosecutors said.

When officers asked him to identify it, Amin said it was a bomb, said Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Lorraine Scaduto.

He later told officials he’d lied about the item because his mother was nearby and he didn’t want her to hear that it was part of a penis pump, Scaduto said.

According to the article, Amin faces up to three years in prison if convicted. I guess that’s not too bad, as we will have been sentenced to eight years under the Bush regime by the time of the next Inaugural Ball.

Graphic courtesy of the Mayo Clinic this website.


“Snakes: The Muthaf*ckin Anti-Drug”

From DARE Generation:


Banned from TV forever (but not from YouTube)

Thanks to JVL, booze and political incorrectness…

Don’t be from Alabama. Don’t stand in the doorway of Roosevelt Franklin High School.


Why are Republicans trying to spoil the race in TX-22?

Libertarians are often accused of entering candidates into political races in order to be a spoiler. The opposite may be true in Texas.

As most of you can guess, the reason I’ve not had time to blog here lately is because of all of the media excitement about the Bob Smither campaign in Texas 22. There is one key topic about the Thursday night meeting in Pearland that seems to have beem missed by the mainstream media so far. (I’m linking to FortBendNow because Mr. Dunn seems to be providing significantly better coverage than some of the more traditional media sources).

The way the story has been relayed to me by several parties (some of whom were inside the closed meeting), former congressman and potential future inmate Tom “Don’t Drop the Soap” DeLay spent his time trying to ensure there would be no support for Smither. According to what I’ve heard, DeLay suggested some outlandish conspiracy theory that Smither and Lampson are secret buddies and the only reason Smither is in this race is to siphon off Republican votes. The direct quote from DeLay seems to be that Smither is “a Lampson plant.”

According to Smither, there isn’t such a relationship and he’s only met Lampson in public when working on issues related to missing children. For those of you not familiar with the horrible tragedy which fell upon the Smither family and how this plays into this campaign, details are available here, here and here.

Of course, Lampson is exploiting that relationship to help his campaign. During the heat of the controversy leading up to Thursday night’s meeting, Lampson released a television commercial that seeks to associate his name with those very same issues. Smither made it very clear to me on the phone that any suggestion that he is working with Lampson to siphon off Republican votes “is a vicious lie.”

While there was clearly some support for Smither in the GOP meeting, DeLay’s antics killed any chance for Smither to address the audience. Now Republicans have a tougher pickle than the simple issue of whether or not to support the Libertarian candidate. They’ve probably got two write-in candidates, one of whom has a very difficult to spell name.

Texas 22 is rated around 65% Republican and areas of the district are certainly libertarian friendly. My question is why the “Hyphen Lady” and Wallace are running spoiler write-in campaigns to keep Smither, the only economic conservative actually on the ballot, from winning. It seems to me they are placing their personal interests ahead of those of the voters. If I was still a Republican (and I was for years), I’d be strongly supporting and then voting for Smither simply because he has a greater chance of winning than the write-in Repubs. I’d simply have considered a vote for either of the Republicans a wasted vote.

My suggestion to Republicans is to work with Smither to help ensure that Nancy Pelosi isn’t the next Speaker of the House.

My challenge to Libertarians is to take the Smither campaign to the blogosphere, much like DailyKos did for Lamont in Connecticut. With that sort of support, you can show local Republicans that Smither is indeed their best option.


Great YouTubed Historical Vid (until they censor it)

Here’s Frank Zappa being libertarian, political and funny as hell all at the same time. From the YouTube description:

On February 14, 1986, the Maryland State Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill proposed by delegate Judith Toth to modify the existing state pornography statute so as to include records, tapes and CDs. (…)

H/T to Casey.


“Busted” Now on YouTube

If you have never watched this one before, you should. Everyone should. “Busted” is now on YouTube.

Update: From looking at comment dates, I guess it’s been on for a while, but somehow I missed it.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Some of you have expressed very strong anti-ACLU sentiments, while I agree with you in limited terms, I’d like to ask that everyone keep the discussion on-topic and polite. Discuss the video linked, please.


Robbing Smokers to Pay Pols

If I took something of yours and later found out I had done it illegally, I’d expect that you’d want it back. In Alabama, they’ve been collecting an illegal tax. Once it was declared illegal by the state Supreme Court, they aren’t making any attempt to restore the money to the rightful owners. From The Birmingham News:

The high court ruled that money collected under the tax by Bessemer, Hoover and Hueytown – about $1.8 million – go to Cooper Green Hospital after a third of the sum is awarded in attorney fees.

With regard to money collected by Trussville, Mountain Brook and Homewood, the court ordered Bessemer Circuit Judge Dan King to either dismiss the case against them, or transfer the case to the Birmingham division for a judge there to make a ruling. The court ruled that King – who presides in the Bessemer Cutoff – had no jurisdiction over the cities in the Birmingham division.

Efforts to reach King on Friday were unsuccessful.

King’s dismissing the case would mean those cities would get the money they’ve collected. Transferring the case to Birmingham would mean the money would remain in escrow until a Birmingham judge, in essence, concurs in the Supreme Court’s ruling. If a Birmingham judge rules that those cities illegally collected the tax, it’s unclear what happens to the money the cities have collected.

Since January 2004, a 10-cent tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products has been collected in those Jefferson County cities. State Sen. E.B. McClain filed a lawsuit, claiming the tax was illegal. His lawsuit asked that the money collected go to Cooper Green Hospital for the treatment of tobacco-related illnesses.

A total of about $2.1 million has been collected in tobacco taxes. The money has been held by the circuit court clerk in Bessemer.

As one might expect in Alabama, the lawyers and the hospital get their payola, but the victims don’t get restitution. While returning the money directly to each individual might prove difficult (who keeps all their receipts for cigarettes?), they could have reduced state cigarette taxes for a period of time and allowed the illegally collected money to go into the state coffers. This indirect restitution would have required legislation, but it was a legislator who reportedly filed the lawsuit. It would have at least attempted to get the money back to the people who were initially pick-pocketed.

Additionally, as the municipalities involved were obviously in the wrong, attorney’s fees should not have come from the wallets which were lifted by the government. This hospital is listed as public, which means a government entity gets the money already illegally collected by the government. So far, the only question seems to have been which thief gets how much of the take. With respect to Mountain Brook, Homewood and Trussville, restitution isn’t even an option.

What if I had been caught stealing Senator McClain’s car and the judge decided to give the car to my business partner and make McClain pay the legal bills? That wouldn’t seem fair, would it?


Compare Candidates on the Issues: New Political Site and Concept

Here’s what could end up being a niftly little online voting guide. Unlike most of them, you can compare two candidates for the same office on the issues and grade them. The interesting factor is that you don’t get to see which candidate you are choosing until after you’ve selected the response you most like.

Vote Media’s was just launched, so they don’t have many candidates in the system, yet. I’ve noticed that most of the ones in the system, so far, are Libertarians.

I’m in contact with the CEO of Vote Media. It will prove interesting to learn if Americans actually vote for candidates even when they disagree with their positions on the important issues of the day. Here’s a clip from their promotional e-mail:

Our national public relations efforts are launching in August. We invite you to input your position on up to 15 issues by August 4th to secure the benefits of early PR. There is no cost to post your issues on

How it works

An individual username and password* has been created for every candidate. If you have not already received your username and password, please contact us at

Once you have your login credentials, visit and click on Candidate Login.

This secure access provides links prompting candidates to easily

fill out issue perspectives
edit profile
upload photo, banner, and video links
view polling charts (if subscribed)**
Remember, candidates post their issue perspectives and photo for free.

Your name is already on our site. When interested voters click on your name they are eager to get your response to their selected issues. Until you post your perspectives “Candidate has not responded” will appear opposite your opponent’s perspectives.

I’d recommend that LP candidates fill our the questionnaire. Everyone else, enjoy!


Political Corruption Bowl Question: How can you differentiate the players if both teams wear the same colors?

corruptionbowl.gifPartially because one of my better friends just launched his SB Nation site, I’m starting to think about upcoming football season. I expect he’ll attract the attention of a lot of gay Kansas City Chiefs fans with a blog named “Arrowhead Pride” — but that’s not point of this posting.

I was thinking about football when I read this article, so my mind was on offensive plays as I started typing.

Right now, on the gridiron of political corruption, the GOP Elephants seem to hold a narrow lead over the DNC Donkeys. The Donkeys haven’t been able to put together a decent offensive team since they lost their star player years back.

In the first quarter, Randy “Duke” Cunningham (not to be confused with the vastly superior Randall Cunningham) was handed the $2.4 million dollar ball by quarterback Mitchell Wade. As he ran the ball down the field, the crowd held up lava lamps while performing the “Duke Stir” wave. Upon making his touchdown, Cunningham engaged in his traditional form of goal line celebration by opening a bottle of champagne. At the end of the first quarter, the score was GOP 7, DNC 0.

The second quarter came to life as DNC quarterback Richard Scrushy made a $500,000 pass at receiver Don Siegelman. Siegelman caught the ball in the end zone. If he spends time in prison with all the perpetrators of victimless crimes incarcerated under his watch, he’ll probably continue catching stuff in his end zone. At the end of the first half, the score was tied at seven. see more…


Mel Gibson on Religion, Handcuffs and Toilet Humor

By now, everyone knows that Mel Gibson has finally gone off the deep end. Here are some details about how far he’s taking it:

TMZ has learned that Deputy Mee audiotaped the entire exchange between himself and Gibson, from the time of the traffic stop to the time Gibson was put in the patrol car, and that the tape fully corroborates the written report.

Once inside the car, a source directly connected with the case says Gibson began banging himself against the seat. The report says Gibson told the deputy, “You mother f****r. I’m going to f*** you.” The report also says “Gibson almost continually [sic] threatened me saying he ‘owns Malibu’ and will spend all of his money to ‘get even’ with me.”

The report says Gibson then launched into a barrage of anti-Semitic statements: “F*****g Jews… The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.” Gibson then asked the deputy, “Are you a Jew?”

The deputy became alarmed as Gibson’s tirade escalated, and called ahead for a sergeant to meet them when they arrived at the station. When they arrived, a sergeant began videotaping Gibson, who noticed the camera and then said, “What the f*** do you think you’re doing?”

A law enforcement source says Gibson then noticed another female sergeant and yelled, “What do you think you’re looking at, sugar tits?”

We’re told Gibson took two blood alcohol tests, which were videotaped, and continued saying how “f****d” he was and how he was going to “f***” Deputy Mee.

Gibson was put in a cell with handcuffs on. He said he needed to urinate, and after a few minutes tried manipulating his hands to unzip his pants. Sources say Deputy Mee thought Gibson was going to urinate on the floor of the booking cell and asked someone to take Gibson to the bathroom.

South Park came close to predicting this one correctly. Here’s “The Passion of the Crazy Mel Gibson” YouTubed for your viewing pleasure.