AreYouLiberal.Com
22Aug/14Off

No Joke: Florida City Makes It Illegal to Wear Your Pants Too Low

Do we really need to make this illegal?

A city in Florida passed an ordinance “prohibiting pants more than two inches below the waistline,” according to Fox News’ Orlando affiliate. Those who keep their pants slung a little too low face a “penalty of up to a $500 fine or up to 60 days in jail.”

“We are tired of seeing young men of all descriptions, white, blue, green, black and orange walking around with their pants down and their underwear showing,” said Ocala, Fla., City Council member Mary Rich.

Sure, I’d be fine with never seeing drearily patterned boxers in public again—as I suspect many Americans would be.

But I’d also be fine with, say, “Transformers” director Michael Bay never making a movie again. That doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for me to campaign for a law to ban Bay from filmmaking.

“The police should be fighting real crime, not wasting the court’s time with trivial matters,” says Jordan Richardson, a visiting legal fellow in the Meese Center at The Heritage Foundation. “A belt is needed, not another law.”

The NAACP is protesting the law. “We are not here to say that we are in favor of our young men wearing their pants like this,” said NAACP’s Loretta Pompey Jenkins, “but we are in opposition to our city government taking the position of dictating dress codes.”

Jenkins is right: It’s not for the law to decide what’s appropriate to wear and what’s not.

This is a case for the fashion police, not the actual police.

The post No Joke: Florida City Makes It Illegal to Wear Your Pants Too Low appeared first on Daily Signal.

22Aug/14Off

Third Time the Charm in Iraq?, Ferguson Cop May Not Have Been Badly Injured After All, More Fun in Ukraine: P.M. Links

  • Chuck HagelIslamic State is really, really
    bad,
    says Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
    . And airstrikes don't
    seem to be up to the job of stopping the group. So you might want
    to get ready for Gulf War 3.
  • Despite sketchy reports of an eye injury, Ferguson cop Darren
    Miller may not have been badly injured in a tussle with Michael
    Brown at all. Hospital reports apparently
    mention nothing worse than a little swelling
    .
  • There's more reason to dislike Obamacare's much-maligned
    medical device tax. The IRS
    can't figure out who is supposed to pay
    , and collections are
    running well behind expectations.
  • Mykola Zelenec, an honorary consul for Lithuania in Ukraine,
    was reported by his country to have been
    murdered by Russian-backed separatists
    . And the U.S., EU, and
    NATO are really ticked
    over Russia's casual attitude toward the international border. So,
    hang on tight...
  • Texas Governor Rick Perry
    slapped back at Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg
    , who pursued
    an indictment against him after he threatened to veto her budget.
    "Thank God they stopped her before she killed someone," he said of
    Lehmberg, who was convicted of drunk driving. Pistols at 20 paces,
    folks. We'll buy tickets.
  • With the continent's economy staggering along, financial
    markets expect a
    new round of stimulus
    from the European Central Bank. Anybody
    have some Bitcoin lying around?

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22Aug/14Off

David Harsanyi: Republicans Aren’t Abandoning Obamacare

A new Bloomberg article concludes that the
Affordable Care Act is losing its effectiveness as a political
issue for Republicans. So many Americans are "benefiting from the
law," theorizes Heidi Przybyla, that political ads are simply not
doing the job anymore.

This news is somewhat unexpected—and unpersuasive, argues David
Harsanyi. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll recently found that only
15 percent of Americans believe Obamacare has directly helped them,
whereas 28 percent say it has directly hurt them. And in places
like North Carolina, a quarter of political ads still
attack Obamacare specifically. This seems to suggest that it's
still a comparatively "major issue," Harsanyi writes.

View this article.

22Aug/14Off

Governor Who Oversaw Soaring Unemployment Will Teach Class on Job Creation

GranholmThis has to be one of the
funniest higher education developments since the
announcement
that Paul Krugman would be paid $225,000 to do
research at City University of New York's income inequality
initiative: Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm will teach a
course on job creation at the University of
California-Berkeley.

As the Mackinac Center
for Public Policy points out
, Michigan lost roughly half a
million jobs during Granholm's eight-year reign. Even so,
UC-Berkeley believes she is qualified to teach Public Policy 290:
"Creating Jobs through Better Government Policies for Innovation
and Education."

She will cost the
university quite a pretty penny, too:

That is the only class Granholm will teach in the fall. In the
spring, she’s listed as contributing to another course in Public
Policy taught by another instructor. Granholm is listed as earning
$84,331 in 2013 at the college.

Granholm’s husband, Daniel Mulhern, is listed as earning
$180,000 in gross pay in 2013 and is schedule to teach one class in
the fall and two courses in the spring.

Granholm is not entirely, or even mostly, responsible for
Michigan's high employment levels during the 2000s. But it would be
quite a stretch to say that her government growth policies had any
lasting positive effects. Granholm's favorite tools for trying to
get Michigan's engines running again were subsidies for
government-favored industries (like
Hollywood
),
brutally high taxes
on small business, green energy
boondoggles, and anything else she could find in the lefty
corporatist playbook.

Perhaps Granholm will surprise us all and begin her first
lecture with a candid confession that nothing she tried worked and
that the best method for the government to promote job growth is to
get out of the way. Only time will tell.

It does look like Granholm will at the very least be doubling
down on the necessity of environmental regulation for job creation,
though. According to The College Fix:

In addition to job growth, the course aims to assist politicians
with the rollout of new environmental protection rules.

“The class will coincide with the rollout of EPA rules regarding
CO2 emissions, wherein states must formulate state-specific plans
for cutting carbon pollution,” the guide states.
“The final state-based reports will be delivered to candidates and
office-holders of both political parties in each of the
states.”

In the meantime, I wonder if UC-Berkeley is looking for a former
Michigan politician to teach, say, "Ethics in Government" as well?
Because
Kwame Kilpatrick
probably needs a job. (Maybe he could Skype
from federal prison.)

22Aug/14Off

Peter Suderman Reviews Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

For this week's movie review, I
took on the second Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez adaptation of
Miller's Sin City comics:

The comic’s cartoon nihilism works in short bursts, as a kind of
concise, witty send-up of old crime and detective
stories. But on screen, at feature length, it’s a drag —
a movie with no hope or happiness, just two-dimensional doom and
despair.

The whole thing is delivered in a hard-boiled style so inhuman
and over-the-top that it verges on parody: Tenderness is replaced
with lust, levity with comic ultraviolence. The
characters all speak obsessively of blood and sweat and night and
the pointlessness of everything, and after an hour or so, you start
to see they have a point, if only about the movie you’re
watching.

The dialogue is so insistently one-note that when you leave the
theater it’s tempting to start talking in the same sort of gritty
one-liners as the characters: It’s a movie that runs you over like
a semi-truck, with dialogue that explodes like broken glass in your
ears. After a while, you wonder what the point is. You
don’t watch this movie — you take 100 minutes to stare at the
void.


Read the whole review in The Washington Times
.
 

My friend (and Reason contributor) Sonny Bunch at
The Washington Free Beacon
took the Miller-esque reviewing to a whole different level
. His
review is worth your time, even if the movie isn't. 

One of the things I didn't bring up in the review
is how influential Frank Miller has been on the past decade or so
of dark-and-gritty revisionist genre movies. 

A lot of those movies, in particular the Christopher Nolan
Batman films, which are heavily influenced by Miller's two classic
Batman books,
The Dark
Knight Returns
and Year One, are really quite
good. And even now, Miller's older comics stand up pretty well,
especially
TDKR and some of his work on
Daredevil. 
 

But later in his career, Miller just went off the rails.
He had one idea—to reimagine practically everything as a grim,
brooding, and often gruesome crime story—and he pushed it way too
far, without much in the way of variation. His All-Star Batman and Robin was
rightly ridiculed for reading like a parody of a grim, gritty Frank
Miller comic. And b
y the time Holy Terror, a book that features a
thinly-veiled stand-in for Batman exterminating jihadists in a
mosque, came it, it went past
ridiculous and into awful
and offensive. 

So part of what the one-note noirish bleakness
of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, which Miller
co-directed and which is often as literal a translation from screen
to page as you can possibly imagine, offers is a reminder of how
fundamentally silly the purest form of that vision is, especially
when you try to move it off the comics page and into the world of
live-action. The audience at the screening I was at cracked up more
and more as the movie went on, and not because it was supposed to
be funny. 

Check out Kurt Loder's review
here

22Aug/14Off

This Cute Baby Animal has Become an Internet Sensation… Can You Guess What it is?

A photo that is both almost grotesque and strangely cute is burning up the internet. A man stopped when he saw a dead animal on the side of the road, and found this little girl with her mother, who had presumably been hit by a car.

The rescuer made an urgent phone call to a wildlife helpline in Kinglake, Victoria, and ranger Kim Hunter, 48, came racing out to take the baby home.
Despite being close to death, Kim managed to nurse the baby – she has called her Leah – ...

22Aug/14Off

Bloomberg’s Stop-and-Frisk Explosion Looks Ineffective As Well As Unconstitutional

A
new report
from the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)
suggests that the massive increase in street stops by the NYPD
during Michael Bloomberg's administration had little, if any,
impact on violent crime. The number of stop-and-frisk encounters
septupled between 2002 and 2011, when it peaked at nearly
700,000, then fell sharply to less than 200,000 in 2013. Meanwhile,
the number of murders, which peaked at 597 in 2003, bobbed up and
down, then fell sharply after 2011, reaching a low of 335 last
year. The number of shootings followed a similar pattern. In both
cases the biggest declines coincided with the dramatic reduction in
street stops during the last two years under Bloomberg.

The NYCLU's analysis of street stops during the 11 years for
which detailed information is available (2003 through 2013)
confirms patterns that are by now familiar: The vast majority of
the people stopped by police (86 percent) were black or Latino, the
vast majority of the stops (88 percent) ended without an arrest or
a summons, and most (52 percent) included pat-downs, only 2
percent of which discovered weapons. These numbers are striking
because the Supreme Court has said police may stop someone only if
they reasonably suspect he is involved in criminal activity and may
pat him down only if they reasonably suspect he is armed. Yet
police wrongly suspected criminal activity nine times out 10 and
were almost never right when they supposedly suspected someone was
carrying a weapon. Given this record, it is not surprising that a
federal judge
concluded
the NYPD was routinely violating New Yorkers' Fourth
Amendment rights.

In defending the stop-and-frisk program, Bloomberg did not argue
that it was constitutional. Instead he argued that it was
effective. Specifically, he maintained that
stopping and searching lots of young black and Latino men more or
less at random discouraged them from carrying guns. The beauty of
that argument was that it allowed Bloomberg to turn what looked
like failure into success. Although getting guns off the street was
one of the program's main justifications, only 0.02 percent of
stops resulted in gun seizures. Bloomberg cited the remarkably low
gun recovery rate as evidence that the stops were having the
intended deterrent effect. But if so, and if that effect resulted
in fewer shootings and murders, it is hard to explain why the
downward trend in violent crime not only continued but accelerated
when the number of stops dropped dramatically.

22Aug/14Off

Top Psychiatrist Paul McHugh Dares to Remind Us: Transgenderism Is a Mental Disorder, Sex Change Is Biologically Impossible

George Orwell could not have been more right than when he said,
“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”
…except when he said,
“In a time of universal deceit – telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
This is because a totalitarian ideology like liberalism insinuates itself into literally every subject, so that no one is allowed to say anything that isn’t a moronic lie if they don’t want to risk incurring the wrath of the establishment. Take psychiatry, for example:
Dr. ...

22Aug/14Off

State Department Claims Islamic State Murder of American Has Nothing to Do With America, Does Not Reflect Badly on Islam

At least the Obama Regime lightens the gathering gloom with laughter provided by Deputy State Department Spokesclown Marie Harf, who responded to the execution of James Foley in characteristic comic form.
Harf spoke after President Obama told the nation that “governments and peoples across the Middle East” should come together in a “common effort to extract this cancer, so that it does not spread.” He then went golfing.
That left sophomoric underlings to explain US foreign policy in response to this act of war by the rising Islamic State. Barfs Ms. Harf:
“I ...

22Aug/14Off

Ebola Survivor Thanks God and ‘Thousands and Thousands of Prayers’ for Saving His Life

Dr. Kent Bradley, the 33-year-old missionary from Texas, is thanking God for saving his life after being cured of the deadly Ebola virus earlier this week. “God saved my life,” he said at a press conference upon being released from Emory Hospital in Atlanta. “A direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers.”

>>>Ignore the Fearmongering: Illegal Immigrants Crossing Border Won’t Bring Ebola

The post Ebola Survivor Thanks God and ‘Thousands and Thousands of Prayers’ for Saving His Life appeared first on Daily Signal.

22Aug/14Off

Alleged Sex Predator Cop to Hit the Streets of Philly Again: “I’m stuck with a guy who shouldn’t be a cop” Says Police Commissioner

Thomas Tolstoy in surveillance videoThe Philadelphia Inquirer

reports
on Officer Thomas Tolstoy, who was accused by three
women of sexually assaulting them in similar but separate
incidents, while acting as a police officer, and how he may be
close to returning to patrol the streets of Philaldephia. Tolstoy
was pulled from duty, with pay, after a woman who landed in a
hospital after her encounter with Tolstoy in October 2008. She only
knew his first name, Tom, but he had given her his phone number as
well.  

Six years later, there has been no prosecution of Tolstoy. The
Inquirer explains the details, including accusations that
media reporting tainted the case and what made the woman accusing
Tolstoy an unreliable witness in the eyes of prosecutors. The
article is titled "Why an accused Phila. officer is still on the
force" but actually only provides an explanation of why he may not
have been prosecuted despite being investigated by local and
federal authorities.

Why his return to the force was guaranteed when the statute of
limitations on the alleged crimes ran out wasn't explained.

Via the Inquirer:

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said he believed that -
lack of prosecution notwithstanding - there might be truth to the
accusations against Tolstoy. But the absence of corroborating
evidence and the role allegedly played by the reporters meant that
"the likelihood of being able to do anything with the case is very,
very remote."

If the allegations against Tolstoy are true but the
investigation itself became compromised, Ramsey said, an officer
who should have been removed from the force will still patrol the
streets.

"The odds are, I'm stuck with a guy who shouldn't be a cop,"
Ramsey said.

Ramsey is stuck with an alleged sex predator who could've easily
been expelled had the same accusations been made against him as an

undergraduate
at an American college because Ramsey does not
have the power to fire Tolstoy. The police commissioner of the
Philadelphia Police Department can not summarily dismiss someone
accused of multiple sexual assaults who is permitted by law to use
violence to gain compliance from the residents of Philadelphia.
Even when Ramsey tries to fire problem cops, he usually fails. A
cop caught on camera hitting a woman for no reason
got his job back
after an arbitration hearing last year. Union
protections
prevent
Ramsey and police chiefs and city leaders around the
country from being able to effectively discipline and terminate
problem cops.

With no guarantee the cop you encounter on the street isn't like
this one, how can you be asked
to blindly comply
? People who encounter cops deserve to get
home safe at night too.

22Aug/14Off

California Government Bans Itself from Flying Confederate Flag

The California legislature
yesterday approved A.B.
2444
, which restricts the state government's use of the
Confederate flag.

From the bill, which now heads to the desk of Gov. Jery
Brown:

This bill would prohibit the State of California from selling or
displaying the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, or a similar image,
or tangible personal property inscribed with those images, unless
the image appears in a book, digital medium, or state museum
that serves an educational or historical purpose.

Brown will almost certainly sign it, since the measure passed
the assembly 71-1. The senate approved it 33-2 earlier in the
week.

The only dissenting voice in the assembly was Tim Donnelly
(R-Twin Peaks), who previously
explained
on Facebook, "I abhor racism but this bill is
antithetical to the first amendment, which was designed to protect
controversial forms of speech."

He also
stated
to the Los Angeles Times, "I'm a strict
Constitutionalist. It's painful and lonely."

Isadore Hall III (D-Compton), who introduced the legislation,
says that it is not a free speech violation, and is intended to
limit government. The bill "respects Constitutional protections by
restricting government speech, not individual speech, and will send
a strong message that California and its taxpayers will not be in
the business of promoting racism, exclusion, oppression or violence
towards others."

In a press release, he
said
:

The Confederate Flag is a symbol of racism, exclusion,
oppression and violence towards many Americans. Its symbolism and
history is directly linked to the enslavement, torture and murder
of millions of Americans through the mid-19th Century. Even today,
its public display is designed only to instill fear, intimidation
and a direct threat of violence towards others.

The Huffington Post
notes
that "last month, Brown had all Confederate flag
materials swiftly removed from the California State Fair after
Hall brought their increased presence to his attention."

22Aug/14Off

Tunisia: A “Start-Up Democracy”

The Arab Spring started in Tunisia, and while many argue representative democracy is simply not possible in a region plagued by strongman politics, manipulated economic systems, and religious extremists, Tunisia continues to defy the critics.

But the country is heading into what will arguably be the most trying period for the nascent democracy in transition—the run-up to the parliamentary and presidential elections.

The conflict in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, as well as the complete disintegration of the Libyan state, highlight the region’s fragility. Tunisia has been relatively isolated from these events. Nonetheless, Tunisian fighters are fleeing to Syria, terrorists kill political leaders and security forces, and violent extremists move across Tunisia’s tri-border area with Algeria and Libya. The Tunisian military is still reeling from the July 17 terrorist attack in the Mont Chaambi that killed 15 soldiers. The terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia has attacked army checkpoints, inflicting massive casualties and instilling fear in the army’s ability to protect civilians.

It is likely that such attacks will only escalate in the coming months, because a successful Tunisian democracy is antithetical to Ansar al-Sharia’s and other extremists’ vision for the country’s future. Indeed, Tunisia needs to be able to secure itself from the region’s troubles. To that end, the U.S. should ensure that Tunisia remains on a path of transition, ultimately leading by example as a force for democratic and economic freedom in the region and the world.

Despite the interim government’s limited budget, the country has set aside $700 million to purchase 12 U.S. Black Hawk helicopters along with missiles, rockets, and training and logistical support. The deal requires U.S. congressional approval. Yet more still needs to be done. During the recent U.S.–Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki highlighted that the approval and delivery of the equipment was urgent and that much more assistance in the form of counter-terrorism training was equally as important.

In terms of economics, Tunisia, which has been dubbed by current interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa as a “start-up democracy,” is emblematic of the serious risks that are inherent in early stage business ventures to ensure sustainability. Beyond the need for additional capital investment and foreign direct investment, risks remain in pursuit of serious and meaningful economic reforms.

Tunisia’s much-needed economic transition will require strong leadership and a vision. There should be greater attention on getting ordinary Tunisians back to work and effectively replacing the former Ben Ali regime’s distorted economic system with a business environment hospitable to innovation and entrepreneurship. According to a recent International Republican Institute poll, 58 percent of Tunisians describe the current economic situation in the country as “very bad.”

Tunisia has a tremendous opportunity to provide a sound political and economic system that not only is for the benefit of Tunisians but reflects a greater possibility for the broader region. But in realizing that opportunity, ensuring security and economic reforms will be critical. No doubt the U.S. has a shared interest with Tunisia in making its “start-up democracy” really take off.

The post Tunisia: A “Start-Up Democracy” appeared first on Daily Signal.

22Aug/14Off

See Doherty, Hear Doherty Explain that Tech Money Hasn’t Ruined Burning Man

As
I blogged yesterday
, I've been being asked by such august
places as the
New York Times
and
ABC News
to discuss whether the (long-lasting, but perhaps
growing) presence of rich tech industry folk "gentrifying" the
Burning Man festival of arts and community is ruining it. 

I think not, for reasons explained in yesterday's blog post.

I'll be discussing that on BloombergTV's Bloomberg
West
program (which aired once already at 10:30 a.m.
pacific but will be re-airing at 3:30 pm pacific and 8:30 pm
pacific) and also on Los Angeles's NPR station
KCRW-FM 89.9
at 12:10 p.m.

Prepare for the wonderment by reading my book This is Burning Man,
available freshly this week in a special 10th anniversary ebook
edition with a new afterword, for the special Burning Man-is-coming
price of $4.99. What everyone should be reading on their Kindle as
they are driven into Black Rock City on Sunday.

22Aug/14Off

Jeffrey Tucker on Liberty.me and How the Internet Undermines the Nation-State

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"I really think the nation-state's not relevant anymore in a
digital age," says Jeffrey
Tucker
, publisher of  "Laissez Faire Books">Laissez Faire Books and the creator
and CEO of Liberty.me, a
"social network and online publishing platform for the liberty
minded."

For nine dollars a month, participants of the website can access
a library of libertarian classics, privately message members
without interference from the National Security Agency, learn from
professors teaching classes on everything from Bitcoin to firearm
safety, and more. 

"We are so fortunate in this generation to have access to tools
our forebearers didn't have. We have the digital cloud. That's a
place where we can migrate... a zone of freedom that unleashes
creativity."

Tucker recently sat down with Reason TV's Nick Gillespie to
discuss Liberty.me, how the site embraces "spontaneous order," and
the benefits to providing both public and private spaces on the
platform.

6 minutes. Edited by Joshua Swain. Shot by Swain and Todd
Krainin.

View this article.

22Aug/14Off

NY City Councilman Wants to Ban Toys in Happy Meals

McDonaldsNew York City Councilman—and
Bloomberg-in-training
—Ben Kallos has proposed legislation to
stop fast food restaurants from putting toys in Happy Meals that
contain too many calories. From
CBS New York
:

Kallos has now introduced a bill Thursday that would put an end
to putting toys in kids’ meals that are often unhealthy.

The measure, dubbed “Healthy Happy Meals,” would ban fast food
restaurants from offering free toys and other incentives with kids’
meals, like a McDonald’s Happy Meal, if the food in the children’s
meal contains more than 500 calories and more than 600 milligrams
of sodium.

“We’re trying to make sure that any happy meal is a healthy
happy meal, and making sure that any incentives, be they toys or
anything else, are tied to healthy meal choices and healthy
eating,” Kallos said.

It would also require the inclusion of a fruit, a vegetable or a
whole grain serving.

Good luck getting through that entire article without choking on
the nanny statism being shoved down your throat (the accompanying
video is unwatchable—freedom lovers will vomit).

Readers will remember that this kind of thing was tried in San
Francisco a few years ago. The law was
mocked by all
and eventually food chains found ways around it.
And a few months ago, a court invalidated New York City's attempt
to
police sugary beverage consumption
. With any hope, Kallo's
proposal won't even get that far.