- This changes everything.
- Captain Dick “Riverat” Stevenson not only organized the Yukon’s only all-nude beauty pageant, he also invented a cocktail that includes a human toe. A life well-lived, sir. A life well-lived.
- “In an unusual twist, Homeland Security provided the partially redacted report (PDF) to the EFF under open government laws — but then turned around and demanded the document’s return, which the EFF refused to do.”
- “The Obama campaign was not amused.”
- On Election Day, another reminder that H.L. Mencken was right.
- The integrity of New Jersey’s email voting experiment rests with public officials who still use Hotmail.
- Late entry for the most vomitously partisan column of Election 2012.
- Finally, I give you nearly five minutes of pure, politics-free joy:
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Monday, November 5, 2012
You’re going to enjoy this. Almost as much as I enjoy dog-related puns.
The Boston Globe today editorializes against medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide today, both of which are on the ballot in Massachusetts. Why? Because neither ballot measure gives state bureaucrats sufficient control over over the lives of people who live in Massachusetts.
With any other legal drug, patients would expect straight answers — they’d assume, almost unconsciously, that the FDA was protecting them. There’s no such backstop for medical marijuana. Even the wisest physicians wouldn’t have enough data to make definitive judgments . . .
Certainly, any regimen for medical marijuana that’s finally adopted should ensure that only those who demonstrably need the pain relief are getting it.
But in the end, Question 3 isn’t the right answer to a complicated policy issue. There are simply too many inherent problems in asking state officials to oversee a legalized system of growing and distributing a drug that hasn’t been subjected to the federal approval process.
Question 3’s heart is in the right place, and its architects have made a solid effort to learn from the mistakes of California and Colorado. But ultimately, the only truly safe way to legalize marijuana will be through the FDA, with doctors providing prescriptions and licensed pharmacists dispensing the medication.
In the meantime, let the patients suffer, the black markets prosper, and the raids continue. I mean, God forbid we pass a law that gives your average rube the tiniest bit more power to make his own decisions about what he puts into this own body. I mean, what if this law were responsible for someone using marijuana to get high?
Reasonable people can disagree passionately about Question 2, but a yes vote would not serve the larger interests of the state. Rather than bring Massachusetts closer to an agreed-upon set of procedures for approaching the end of life, it would be a flashpoint and distraction — the maximum amount of moral conflict for a very modest gain . . .
Instead, Massachusetts should commit itself to a rigorous exploration of end-of-life issues, with the goal of bringing the medical community, insurers, religious groups, and state policy makers into agreement on how best to help individuals handle terminal illnesses and die on their own terms . . .
Physician-assisted suicide should be the last option on the table, to be explored in a thorough legislative process only after the state guarantees that all its patients have access to all the alternatives, including palliative care.
” . . . would not serve the larger interests of the state.” Doesn’t get much clearer than that, does it?
That last bit of emphasis is mine. Interesting what happens when you take these two editorials together. We can’t trust doctors and terminally ill patients to come to a decision about allowing a patient to peacefully, painlessly end his own life, because all of the experts, politicians, and elites haven’t yet decided what’s best for the patient. And we can’t let that same patient relieve his pain with marijuana, because the experts aren’t yet in agreement about the benefits of the drug (in part because the same bureaucratic structure refuses to allow the drug to be used for medical research), and in any case, because the proposed law doesn’t give nearly enough power to government to keep the drug away from people. (The Globe also endorses restricting access to prescription painkillers, by the way.)
The message the Globe editorial board is sending to people with chronic pain and terminal illness is pretty clear: Government power is far more important than your pain. So just fucking suffer.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
I’m not really going out on a limb, here. I do think Romney will win the popular vote by slim margin—I’d say less than half a percentage point. But Obama will win the Electoral College, somewhat comfortably.
One lesson for Republicans: Stop hating on immigrants. Bush won about 40 percent of the Latino vote in 2004. McCain took about 30 percent in 2008. Romney could well drop below 20 percent this year.
Thing is, Latinos tend to be culturally conservative. From the polls I’ve seen, the GOP doesn’t even really need to actively reach out to them. Just stop hating them. Stop with the “my border fence will be bigger than yours,” the English only stuff, “self-deportation,” and the laws that let cops harass anyone with brown skin. Do that, and the GOP could probably lure back enough of the Latino vote to be competitive again, at least in the short term. As it stands, they’re likely going to lose New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado because of this. Even in Arizona, Romney’s lead is down to five points. Within a few election cycles, they might even need to start spending money in Texas.
MORE: I see Shikha Dalmia has already made this point more eloquently that I just did.
Yes, I forgot again.
But I’ll make it up to you. If music gets any better than Mavis Staples and Bonnie Raitt singing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” I can’t imagine what it could possibly be.
(Okay, maybe this. But mostly for the parade of terrifying mustaches.)
Friday, November 2, 2012
I have a piece up at Huffington Post looking at this week’s drug dog cases heard by the Supreme Court.
Much of it will be familiar if you’ve read this site over the last year or so. But I also consider whether the lack of any real criminal defense experience among any of the current justices may affect they way they consider these kinds of cases
(Hint: I think it does. And not in a good way.)
- The preliminary hearing is underway in the case of Matthew Stewart, the Ogden, Utah man who shot a police raid team as they broke into his home. Stewart had six marijuana plants inside.
- Bubbles likes mail.
- Sweden wants your trash.
- Amazing tales of asset forfeiture abuse at the Bal Harbour, Florida police department.
- Headline of the day.
- Today’s lesson in in why you avoid calling the cops.
- Another exoneration in a shaken baby case.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Barack Obama supporters denounce Mitt Romney for holding positions . . . held by Barack Obama.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
A possible Gary Johnson voter . . .
Blogging will continue to be light over the next few weeks. I’m in the homestretch of finishing up by book manuscript.
- Newsweek continues the long, proud newsweekly tradition of unskeptical drug war cheerleading.
- Local news investigation finds that Atlanta cops have shot 100 dogs since 2010. That number is fairly meaningless without more detail. The notable takeaway is that only one police department in the entire Atlanta metro area gives cops any training on how to deal with dogs, and that department only started this year.
- Speaking of which . . .
- Beautiful photo of New York City shortly after Sandy.
- But for video, Chicago edition.
- Federal judge rules that police can install hidden cameras on private property without a warrant.
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
A couple years ago, I wrote a column arguing that the legacy media isn’t liberal so much as statist. Case in point, yesterday’s lead editorial in USA Today, which denounces the various state ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana.
It isn’t a very convincing or well-argued editorial. (They aren’t necessarily the same.) This part in particular jumped out at me:
Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Those who can grow or sell pot legally under state law can be, and have been, busted by the feds. Although the Obama administration ordered a hands-off policy in 2009 for medical marijuana operations in compliance with state laws, there’s no sign that federal drug enforcers would wink at full-blown legalization.
Emphasis mine. The bold passage is of course utter crap. It is factually, provably untrue. The fact that the USA Today editorial board reiterates the lie tells us two things. First, they’re simply taking the Obama administration at its word, despite abundant evidence that not only has the administration not taken a “hands-off” approach, but it has been more aggressive at shutting down pot dispensaries than President Bush. (Up to four times worse.)
That means they’re either unaware of said abundant evidence, or they are aware of it and have chosen to ignore it. In either case, what does that say about how much credibility we ought to put into what the USA Today editorial board thinks about marijuana?
Monday, October 29, 2012
- Mask-clad cops in riot gear raid a free, openly advertised poker tournament in Florida.
- What your favorite sport says about your politics.
- Eric Posner, the law professor last seen arguing that the First Amendment is overrated, now argues that executive power should trump the Fourth Amendment.
- Today’s horrifying lesson in why you should avoid calling the police. Here’s some unfortunate background on this particular sheriff.
Friday, October 26, 2012
Daddy Needs a Drink.
- Esquire interviews Agitator pal, onetime guest blogger, and bartender extraordinaire Jacob Grier.
- Reason staff and contributors reveal for whom they’ll be voting.
- Headline of the day.
- Cop who used a submachine gun to kill an unarmed, fleeing man who had committed no crime . . . won’t be charged.
- But for video: Medley, Florida edition.
- Headline says there’s an 18 percent gender pay gap. But click through to the study, and you’ll find that when they adjust for occupation, it’s actually 7 percent.
- Puppycide: Cop shoots Golden Retriever puppy six times. Neighbor witness says the dog was never a threat.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
- More evidence that ban on texting while driving make the roads less safe.
- I mean, who among us hasn’t faked cancer, pretended to be a doctor online, contacted a friend online while posing as said doctor, then persuaded that friend to have sex with us as a way of treating the fake cancer?
- Another good piece on the overuse of solitary confinement.
- The chair of the DNC didn’t know Obama had a kill list. That, or she’s feigning ignorance. Which would be even worse.
- The Chattanooga Times-Free Press endorses Gary Johnson for president. I suspected one-time Agitator guest blogger Drew Johnson had something to do with this.
- Politics really seems to bring out the classiness in us.
- Obama’s drone assassination program is now dropping sharks on people from the sky. Or maybe it was just a bird.