If there is no right to be wrong, then there is no freedom.

FWIW, I think racism sucks. Not only is racism irrational, but it is — and was — the antithesis of the ideals on which the country was founded. (Hence the Civil War, the seeds of which were sown by the founding principles and the compromises thereof.)

Bad as racism is, I think that sooner or later it needs to be recognized for what it is.

A bad idea.

Bad ideas have plagued mankind since the beginning of history. We can argue against them, but in a free country, in a country with freedom of speech and freedom of expression, bad ideas — whether having them, entertaining them, or expressing them — are nonetheless legal.

Racism (absent actual violations of the law) is as legal as burning the flag. Having racist thoughts is as legal as drawing Muhammad cartoons.

The way certain academicians talk, though, you might get the idea that racism was as immoral as, say, pedophilia. And ought to be just as illegal.

But such thinking does not square with the First Amendment, does it?

 

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It can’t happen here!

Of course not! Stuff like this only happens in Europe.

Officials here and in Arizona stepped up their investigation into two men who opened fire with assault rifles and were shot dead by a police officer before they could invade a controversial Muhammad cartoon contest.

Here we have the First Amendment, so we can say whatever we want. And naturally, our culture reflects that in its tolerance of ideas and expressions people disagree with like flag-burning, Nazi parades, GodHatesFags demonstrations, or Muhammad cartoons.

Right?

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A Rememberance 4 May 1970 – Four Dead In Ohio

Kathy Kinsley reminded me we are having an anniversary today. This is for all of you who believe in the good government can do wishing to forget the evil.
 

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Clueless Republican

Mitt Romney slams Hillary Clinton’s call for ‘mass incarceration’ to end.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Monday, the GOP former presidential candidate questioned Clinton’s recent call to end the “mass incarceration that we practice.” Clinton, the Democratic front-runner in 2016, made the comment in a wide-ranging criminal justice speech last Wednesday.

“What is she referring to?” Romney asked. “We don’t have mass incarcerations in America.”

Rand Paul has been talking about mass incarceration for quite some time. But Romney has no clue. Rand has also been discussing the racism of the drug war. Romney is even more clueless.

In 2012 I couldn’t stand Obama. And Romney was in some ways worse. I voted for the Libertarian. Not that it mattered. Except to me.

If the Republicans run another Prohibitionist in ’16 I’m voting Libertarian. Again.

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Don’t Hire DEA Agents Or Informants

Because they might do this.

Craig Patty asked his employee Lawrence Chapa to help take one of his two trucks to the garage, not realizing that Chapa was a DEA undercover planning to fill the truck with weed, which ended in a firefight with a Los Zetas hit squad that killed the driver, who was a DEA informant.

The DEA says it doesn’t owe Patty anything for the more than $100,000 in repairs that were required for the truck, and disclaim any responsibility for the death of Patty’s employee. Also, they won’t do anything about the fact that they led the Zetas to believe that Patty was a rival drug-runner.

A federal judge in Texas dismissed Patty’s lawsuit against the DEA, because when the DEA is undertaking a “clandestine” operation, it can operate with total legal impunity.

There is no law.
H/T Samizdata

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Tesla Is Selling Batteries

Tesla Motors plans to announce that it has solved the biggest problem with alternative energy. Energy Storage.

Elon Musk hinted about an announcement for a new product line for renewable energy storage last week, suddenly, that dream became a step closer to becoming reality.

“It signals that the storage market is at a point where end customers have been looking for big companies to have their product in the market,” said Ravi Manghani, an analyst for GTM Research. “It’s a small-but-growing [and] very competitive space and Tesla’s putting its stake on the market.”

Tesla will have a big impact on this conversation and the progression of the energy storage industry, but of course, the announcement can’t change the course of history on its own — so don’t get too excited. We still need government regulations and changes in utility models,

Ah. Government regulation. That is kind of an implicit admission that the devices are not profitable.

Lets run the numbers. the average home in the US uses 909 KWh a month. Divide by 24 hours in a day and 30 days in a month and you get about 1,250 watts on an average basis.

We don’t have any real numbers yet but the article estimates a $13,000 cost (ouch) for a 6 KWh battery. That battery will run your home for about 5 hours. Suppose you are paying 25 cents a KWh for electricity (electric power plus grid services). It will take you 52,000 hours of battery use to break even. Assuming the cost of charging the battery is zero. Which it is not. That is about 6 years if the battery charging time is zero. Which it is not. And that assumes the battery will operate that long. No battery life is given. Typically lithium batteries last 3 years. But let us say this one lasts 6 with out declining in capacity until it needs to be replaced. That means you can’t break even for the life of the battery unless your electricity cost is zero and your charging time is zero. And that is the most optimistic scenario possible. And assumes the time cost of money is zero.

And BTW since your house is now a source of electricity your service will need to be upgraded with an automatic cut off switch for times when grid power goes to zero. Both to save your charge for your use and to keep grid electricians from getting electrocuted from unexpected power while making grid repairs.

The answer? It is always the answer. Men with guns can make the uneconomic seem reasonable.

Every tax, every regulation comes with it an army of bureaucrats and behind that an army (with guns) of enforcers.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

I’m sick and tired of phony crony capitalists.

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St. Stephen and other stuff

There hasn’t been any music here for a while. Here is some.
 
 

Another version recorded at Playboy. Added 3 May 2015 0553z.

Yet another version.

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Is all crime now FEDERAL?

The shooting of a black man in Detroit by federal agents is attracting more and more local attention.

DETROIT, MI — Kevin Kellom of Detroit was at the Wayne County morgue Tuesday afternoon taking care of formalities. The body of 20-year-old Terrance Kellom, his son, was inside.

Police are saying little about what led to Terrance Kellom being shot multiple times inside Kevin Kellom’s home on Evergreen in west Detroit shortly after noon Monday.

The father says he saw blood spatter on the wall of the entrance hall when an agent shot his son twice in the chest.

“Two shots rung out, he stumbled back and started walking toward me, calling my name, ‘Daddy, Daddy,’” Kevin Kellom said. “Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. At least eight more shots ring out.

Nothing surprising about that sort of thing these day. What caught my curiosity was the fact that the man was shot by a federal immigration agent:

Detroit — The 20-year-old armed robbery suspect who was fatally shot by a federal agent on Monday was “armed with a hammer,” Detroit’s police chief said Tuesday.

The shooting, on the city’s west side, angered residents who had to be placated by the city’s police chief.

The Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Team, a task force that included officers from the Detroit Police Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Marshals, were serving an armed robbery warrant in the 9500 block of Evergreen at the time of the shooting around 1:13 p.m., Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.

The officers were allowed into the home to conduct their search, Craig said.

The incident comes at a time of heightened tension between police and black communities in some U.S. cities, spurring a national debate about race and police tactics.

Never mind race. (And never mind whether I am a racist for saying such an outrageous thing.) And never mind the man’s criminal history. What I’m curious about is why the feds — not just feds but the immigration authorities — were involved in what appears to be a purely local crime committed by an obviously non-alien U.S. citizen.

“The last thing I heard was: ‘Come out or I’ll shoot.’ ” Kellom said. “They shot him 10 times. They shot him and then they put the handcuffs on him.”

Craig said the suspect was wanted for armed robbery of a pizza deliveryman, felony firearm and as an habitual offender.

According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, Kellom absconded from probation in August for a carrying concealed weapons conviction in 2013. According to his MDOC file, Kellom was 5-foot-10 and 145 pounds.

Assume that’s all true and the guy was a wanted criminal. The last time I looked, robbing a pizza guy and/or skipping bail (absent crossing of state lines) were violations of state law.

And even if there were somehow federal violations (like a pizza delivery involves interstate commerce or something), how does customs and immigration obtain jurisdiction?

Has crime become federalized?

Have the police?

Or are these now empty rhetorical questions?

 

 

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Bruce Jenner’s shocking and outrageous revelation

As he was to many in my generation, Bruce Jenner was an icon in my youth. So it’s not surprising that his recent announcement — that he is a woman — has taken the Internet by storm.

Obviously, the idea of a star Olympic athlete changing his sex is shocking and titillating.

But if you think that is shocking, well, another admission by Jenner has caused even more controversy.  There is something worse.

Much worse:

Arguably the most shocking revelation in the ABC interview was that Jenner said he is a Republican. Certainly that announcement prompted the most vitriolic outbursts on Twitter, as compiled by The Blaze. Which also is some sort of statement about 21st-century America.

Yes, tolerance is one thing. But clearly, there are limits.

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A Changed Mind

An old friend came to town to visit and we had a wonderful time together. What was interesting was her change in attitude towards cannabis. She was never one of those “lock them up and throw away the key” type people. But she was one of those “stay away from that dangerous stuff” types. This time she was citing the medical literature left and right about the virtues of the drug. The anti-cancer properties. The uses for all kinds of diseases.

Her take on why it still is illegal? It would destroy the medical industry as we know it. When I said it would destroy between 1/4 and 3/4s of the medical industry she didn’t bat an eyelash. She just agreed. The most interesting part? Her husband is a doctor.

She did tell a few stories about how big pharma sells drugs and how most doctors don’t have any clue about the side effects of the medicine they provide. All they know about is the trips to the Bahamas provided by pharma companies to “educate” doctors.

I probably should add that she visits Colorado frequently because she has relatives there. But she was also influenced by the Sanjay Gupta specials on the value of cannabis in medicine. Sanjay on the revolution taking place:

Among my colleagues, my patients and my friends. I have even seen the revolution in my own family. A few years ago, when I told my mother I was investigating the topic for a documentary, I was met with a long pause.

“Marijuana…?” She whispered in a half questioning, half disapproving tone. She could barely even say the word and her response filled me with self-doubt. Even as a grown man, mom can still make my cheeks turn red and shatter my confidence with a single word. But just last week she suddenly stopped mid-conversation and said, “I am proud of you on the whole marijuana thing.” I waited for the other shoe to drop, but it didn’t. Instead, she added, “You probably helped a lot of people who were suffering.”

I don’t think we had ever had a conversation like that one. At that moment, I saw a revolution that can bring you to tears.

The word revolution, comes from the Latin revolutio, to “turn around.”

I had my own turn around a couple of years ago, and at the time it was a lonely place to hold a supportive position on medical marijuana. Hardly any government officials would agree to sit down and be interviewed on the topic. Even patients I spoke to were reluctant to share their stories.

I’d say Prohibition has at most a few more years to run. It is being kept alive by those who profit from misery. The police, the big pharma companies, and all the rest threatened by big changes in the human ecology. But change is coming and it appears that – thanks to the ‘net – resistance is futile.

The most delicious part is that those who resist are unlikely to live as long due to the life extending properties of cannabis.

“Truth never triumphs — its opponents just die out. Thus, Science advances one funeral at a time” Max Planck

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!@#$%^&

Things have reached the point where I am sick to death of the Internet, much as I depend upon it for communications and news. The main reason is spammy suckass websites which promote, condone, allow, are paid to allow, the damnable, detestable audio and video advertising that will AUTOPLAY.

I hate intrusive noise, and I avoid sites which feature it. (One example is the Washington Times, which I never click on any more, no matter how much I might want to read the article.)

Sure, I know how to change settings. I know there are buggy “add-ons” designed to disable audio and video. But they create additional problems (such as disabling audio or video I might want), and they do not always work. And — surprise — the people who depend on the Internet for a living condemn them as oppressive!

I’d say the Internet sucks, but that would be as lame as it is redundant.

Perhaps I should stay off line. At the rate things are going, some spammy assholes will install automated noise into this blog whether I like it or not.

Too bad there’s no way to sue.

Because if there were, I’d probably have to sue myself.

What a world.

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I’m Beginning To Like This Guy

Well, I always liked Rand Paul’s “End The Drug War” policy. I’m liking his foreign policy as well. As to Assad. Yes. He is an ally of Iran. But if he goes down the Sunnis in the opposition are going to murder a LOT of people who belong to the wrong religion.

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Old people having sex! God(dess[es]) forbid!

While I know I’ve been complaining for years about the prohibition of drunken sex, there is now a new wrinkle.

People with Alzheimer’s Disease are now being treated like people on alcohol or drugs.

Meaning (of course) that no sex is allowed:

The nursing home staff caring for Rayhons’ wife, Donna Lou Rayhons, told the former Iowa lawmaker that his wife of seven years was no longer mentally capable of legally consenting to have sex. Prosecutors say that Rayhons did not get the message. Today, he is preparing to stand trial for sexually assaulting his wife, who died last August, days before he was formally charged.

Which is fascinating in itself, because unlike being intoxicated, having Alzheimer’s is a permanent condition. I’ve long been annoyed by the idea that an adult does not have the right to decide to get drunk and have sex, but this ratchets the notion up a quantum leap further.

Naturally, the people who push this moralistic crap are liberals who accuse Republicans of being uptight about sex and of waging “war” on women.

I’m not saying that there aren’t religious nutjobs on the right who are uptight about consensual sex. God knows I’ve ridiculed them for years. But they have no monopoly.

Thanks to the left, fewer people than ever before have the right to consent to sex.

What scares me is the loss of personal automony. It is not up to an adult citizen to decide whether or when to have sex.

Rather, it is up to some panel of activists to decide for you that not only do you not have the right to decide to get drunk and have sex, but that if you develop Alzheimer’s disease, you have no right to have sex at all.

This used to be a free country.

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Ducking the issue

Police violence.

Nowadays, nearly everybody is talking about it. Over the years, I’ve kvetched about SWAT team raids, the War on Drugs, Homeland Security, militarization of law enforcement, etc., etc. more times than I care to imagine.

In the latest national meme, liberals are doing everything they can to conflate police violence with racism. Nice try, but it won’t work. When police are in war mode, the race of their victims is irrelevant. And in my opinion it is not honest to scream about police violence only if the victims happen to be black.

Liberals don’t seem to have a problem with lethal force per se; they are only concerned with the race of those subjected to it.

What liberals can’t bear to face is a stark and ugly fact. By their very nature, laws are designed to be backed up by — and enforced with — lethal force. The power to compel with state power means the power to kill.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is a typical example of this cognitive disconnect:

Police first engaged Eric Garner, for example, after being explicitly ordered to crack down on the sale of loose, untaxed cigarettes. Afterward, New York City’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, resisted attempts to connect strict enforcement of petty laws, which are disproportionately applied to poor, largely minority, communities, to the spate of police violence in the city last summer. He insisted police would continue to “strictly enforce” the petty laws because “the law is the law.” Commitment to the law didn’t stop de Blasio from operating New York as a sanctuary city because of the perceived injustice of immigration laws but did stop him from pulling police back from the kinds of interactions that inherently introduce violence—police authority backed by the use of force—to non-violent situations—things like selling loose cigarettes or possessing drugs.

If liberals want laws like the ones they keep passing, police violence will continue unabated.

No wonder they’re focusing on race.

If race continues to be the primary focus, then the obvious “solution” will not be to get rid of lethal force, but to redirect it.

(And as M. Simon notes, plenty of people are always lining up to oblige.)

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A Crawling Army Of Informers

I posted my usual
 
Every tax, every regulation comes with it an army of bureaucrats and behind that an army (with guns) of enforcers
 
in a thread and got this sterling reply.
 
 
a standing army of soldiers, a kneeling army of priests and a crawling army of informers
 
 

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The law is an ass. (Especially when the ass is on camera.)

When most people hear the words “kiddie porn,” they’re thinking of innocent children being exploited and damaged for life by villainous adults. That’s the legal theory behind laws against child pornography: protecting the victims against exploitation.

What is happening more and more is that these same laws are being used as a tool to punish stupid or irresponsible teenagers who have exploited and harmed no one, but merely photographed or filmed themselves having sex.

Four Chicago-area teenagers faces felony child-pornography charges after uploading a video of themselves having sex to Twitter. The three boys and one girl, ages 14-16, are being held in juvenile custody until a court hearing later this month.

Both the sex and the posting of the video were consensual—this is not a rape or “revenge porn” scenario. But under Illinois law (as in many other states), minors who post sexually-oriented images of themselves online or even share them privately with one another can be charged as child pornographers.

It’s an absurd situation (and one Reason writers have railed against before). Maybe things like tweeting your orgy video or texting nude photos to classmates aren’t the wisest decisions a teen can make, but these are matters that parents or perhaps school administrators should address, not the criminal justice system. Who benefits from branding these teens sex predators for life because they dared to explore their sexuality?

According to the Chief of Police, they are being targeted for prosecution in order to “send a message”:

“The child pornography offense that was charged is in place for a reason, because we don’t want to accept that type of behavior as a society,” [Joliet Police Chief Brian] Benton said. “It’s making a strong statement, and I think it’s important to do so, to send a message to others that kids shouldn’t be involved in this type of behavior, and hopefully this will serve as a deterrent.”

Being registered as a sex offender for life is a deterrent, all right. A deterrent against ever having a normal life. These kids committed a crime against no one, and harmed no one except arguably themselves. They are not in the class of predatory criminals these laws were intended to punish, and it is a mockery of justice to pretend that the laws were passed to ruin the lives of kids for behaving in less than a mature manner. (Of course, if they had done the same as adults, they would face no legal consequences at all.)

What also fascinates me about this whole issue is when the increasing ubiquity of cameras are factored in. Whether they are cell phone cameras, web cameras, nanny cameras, surveillance cameras, or baby sitting cameras, they are cheap, easy to install, and it is a social norm for your average middle class family to have several cameras in their home.

So I have a hypothetical question which might be fun for a law school exam. Suppose a couple regularly employs a local teenager to babysit their kids while they’re out on the town. Suppose further than one of their kids tells them that the babysitter likes to have her boyfriend over, and that when he comes over the kids have seen them play what the little kids call “funny games.” Wanting to know exactly what is going on before confronting the babysitter and/or her parents, Dad installs a hidden surveillance camera and sets it up to ascertain whether the babysitter and her boyfriend are having sex. The parents come home, review the “evidence,” and BINGO! The two of them are caught in flagrante delicto, with the boyfriend on film giving it to her right on the couch. Bear in mind that the boyfriend and girlfriend are 15 years old, well below the age of consent, and well below the kiddie porn threshold.

Did Dad make kiddie porn? He set up the camera intending to catch them having sex, and it worked. And even if he didn’t intentionally make kiddie porn, doesn’t he now possess it?

It would not surprise me if the parents could be sent to prison for a long, long time.   

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“I had been seduced by righteous eating.”

So far at least,  this sort of thing has never happened to me.

There is a blurry line separating ‘normal’ healthy eating and orthorexia nervosa, but one way to define the condition is when eating ‘healthily’ causes significant distress or negative consequences in a person’s life.

They may be ‘plunged into gloom’ by eating a piece of bread, become anxious about when their next kale, chia or quinoa hit is coming, or eat only at home where ‘superfood’ intake can be tightly controlled.

Such behaviours can have a significant impact on relationships with family members and friends, let alone on their mental health.

Let me confess right here, I like kale. I also like pork. Is there some reason any of this matters?

Obviously it does.

kalemania

Once again, you might think that people have better things to care about — much less worry about — than what other people are doing.

But it seems that there is something about caring that becomes akin to a disease process. Far from it being enough merely to do what they think is right, the truly righteous feel morally obligated to dictate to others to do what they do.

I think it makes for a very uncivil society, but a growing number of people think that if what you do or think is offensive to others, you have harmed them.

As Robert Bork said, “Knowledge that an activity is taking place is a harm to those who find it profoundly immoral.”

(Many on the left agree with such thinking.)

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Being gay — a choice or not?

Why are so many people (left and right) obsessed with such a question?

It should not matter to sane people.

But for reasons that still escape me after many years of blogging, it absolutely does.

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This may sound hard to believe…

President Barack Obama was actually interviewed by Reason’s Nick Gillespie.

Seeing is believing.

Wow. Just wow.

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Pollywell On Watts Up With That

OregonGuy in a comment left a link to a discussion of Polywell at Watts Up With That.

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