AreYouLiberal.Com
31May/12Off

It’s Time for Beltway Barnacle Orrin Hatch To Go

Six-term entrenched incumbent Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is attacking his conservative challenger, Dan Liljenquist, over his alleged support for tax hikes in Washington. My sides ache.
Liljenquist has never voted for federal tax hikes or massive entitlement spending or multibillion-dollar bailouts or serial debt-limit increases in Washington because he has never served in Washington. Never. Hatch, by contrast, has spent the last 36 years racking up a Big Government record that cannot be whitewashed away.
Outside the Beltway/Hatch fog machine, Liljenquist’s integrity and commitment to reining in runaway spending are unassailable. In ...

31May/12Off

All (green) thumbs

It was interesting while it lasted. But it looks like the “green revolution” has entered the long slide into “What was all that about?”
In January, the Spanish government removed absurdly lavish subsidies for its renewable energy industry, and the renewable energy industry all but imploded. You could say it was never a renewable energy industry at all. It was a government subsidy industry where in exchange for creating conscience-soothing but otherwise inefficient windmills and solar panels, the government gave the makers piles of cash consumers never would.
“They destroyed the Spanish ...

31May/12Off

Wisconsin Election as Test Case

The gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin next week is important as an imperfect test case to indicate how Democratic propaganda will work against facts this election year.
Liberals are usually the ones who arrogantly throw around the charge that Republicans and conservatives are fact- and science-challenged and averse to reality. But their claim itself is based on nothing but their generic, nonfactual presuppositions, whether on “climate change” or same-sex unions.
What I’m suggesting is different. I’m saying that Democrats in Wisconsin are basing their case against Republican Gov. Scott Walker on anything ...

31May/12Off

Ed Schultz’s Wisconsin Campaign

Ed Schultz is the kind of shameless liberal hack who can go on air standing in front of screaming labor-union crowds in Madison, Wisc., calling for Gov. Scott Walker’s head on a platter, and then turn around and announce that “Fox News is an arm of the Republican Party.”
Let’s put this canard to rest. In coverage of the leftist effort to drain the taxpayers of Wisconsin for an unnecessary and doomed recall election, Fox looks much more objective than Ed Schultz. There is no question about that.
A new Media Research ...

31May/12Off

Holder’s Chutzpah

Attorney General Eric Holder recently told a group of black clergymen that the right to vote was being threatened by people who are seeking to block access to the ballot box by blacks and other minorities.
This is truly world-class chutzpah, by an Attorney General who stopped attorneys in his own Department of Justice from completing the prosecution of black thugs who stationed themselves outside a Philadelphia voting site to harass and intimidate white voters.
This may have seemed like a small episode to some at the time, but it was only ...

31May/12Off

Team Obama Finds Romney Hard Target to Hit

The Obama campaign’s early attempts to attack Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital or present him as too extreme to be president have not worked out all that well so far. The early stumbles have created a flurry of commentaries wondering what’s wrong with the team that performed so flawlessly in Election 2008.
The answer may have nothing to do with the Obama campaign and have everything to do with the fact that Romney appears to be a tougher target than anticipated.
On the Bain Capital front, 44 percent of voters say ...

31May/12Off

California Continues to Be Less Hippie Than Expected: Only 46 Percent of Residents Support Marijuana Legalization

Much
was made
of the 2011 Gallup poll which noted that for the first
time a majority — well, 50 percent, so no longer a minority!
— of respondents supported marijuana legalization. This
contrasted nicely (for fans of less government, that is) with the
minuscule 12 percent support for legalization in 1969 when the
question was first asked by Gallup and even the relatively
restrained 36 percent support for legalization in 2006. Things are
moving in the right way!

Much was also made of the frustrating
7-point
loss of California's Prop. 19 in 2010, which would have
legalized recreational use of marijuana. Medical use has been legal
since 1996, in spite of various federal crackdowns (especially
lately). 2012 will no doubt bring further pushes for legalization,
since marijuana legalization has suddenly become a non-fringe
political cause supported by serious people, but those might be
more likely to succeed in
Colorado
or other places less divided than the supposedly
hippie-tastic soialist paradise. After all, a new Los Angeles
Times

poll of 1000 voters showed a-less-than-national-average support for
legalization of weed in California—46 percent.
 Notes
The Washington Post:

The USC/LA Times poll found California voters overwhelmingly
support doctor-recommended use of marijuana for the severely ill,
with about 80 percent in favor of medical marijuana for the
terminally ill and severely disabled.

The San Francisco Bay Area was the only region in the state
where a majority — 55 percent — favors legalization. That compares
with 41 percent in Southern California.

Those against marijuana use were more adamant in their position,
with 42 percent feeling “strongly” about it compared with 33
percent for proponents.

Twenty-eight percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats
polled liked the idea of marijuana legalization. Sixty-eight
percent of Independents favor it.

The poll also noted:

less than 38% said they had indulged in pot for pleasure at
least once in their lives — and 9% had in the last year. The
questioners did not ask whether those who used the drug
recreationally acquired it on the street or with a doctor's
recommendation from a dispensary. The poll margin of error is 3.5
percentage points.

The poll
results
 showed that 43% of whites said they had smoked
marijuana recreationally, while only 24% of Latinos said they
had.


The poll also
said that more than 80 percent of responders
supported medical marijuana for "severe" medical problems. The
really downer takeway is that the pro-legalization camp has lost

three percentages of support since 2009
.

This fact, as well as the fact that more young people than old
support legalization is not at all surprising. Nor is the fact that
more Democrats and particularly more Independents support the
policy. This is true in other polls, especially in Gallup's
national one. But it's still surprising that California cannot
either legalize gay marriage or marijuana, two theoretically
leftish causes that most libertarians can also get behind.
Nevertheless, the marijuana shift is happening, just perhaps no
faster in Californian than in most other states.

Reason on
marijuana
.


31May/12Off

Nick Gillespie Slags Mike Bloomberg’s Soda Plan on NBC Nightly News

I was on the NBC Nightly News tonight to share my view of New
York Mayor Mike Bloomberg's plan to limit the size of soda and
sugary-drink servings in the Big Apple.

Watch the clip above and check out a transcript and
more here
.

Among the material left on the cutting-room floor: My suggestion
that the term-limited martinet think about running for mayor of
Pyongyang.

Elsewhere at Reason today, Anthony Fisher talked to New Yorkers
about the plan.
Watch that vid here
.

Reason on the
Nanny State.

We unveil our Nanny of the Month tomorrow. Guess what guy
entered the race late this time but is really making up for lost
time?


31May/12Off

Anti-Choice Group Edits Out Planned Parenthood Adoption Discussion

The full unedited video of anti-choice group Live Action's latest Planned Parenthood hit job shows something very interesting: Cutting Room Floor: Live Action Edited Out Adoption Discussion.

The edited video leaves the following on the cutting room floor:

[Item List]

They've learned quite a bit from the tactics of Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keefe; most importantly, that the initial releases of their creepy undercover videos are covered much more widely than their inevitable debunking. Bottom feeder politics, go for the throat, ethics be damned -- that's Andrew Breitbart's legacy of dishonesty.

Here's the complete video at YouTube:


31May/12Off

Duly Noted – Young, Jobless and Angry

Some ignored contributory causes of unemployment.

 

Youth unemployment represents a growing problem. One response is to create jobs by the government for the involuntarily idle. In this connection, the condition of the national economies that produce negative records is listed as a causative factor. True is that thriving businesses create [...]

31May/12Off

Court Strikes Down The Defense of Marriage Act

Today, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held unconstitutional a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining “marriage” exclusively as opposite-sex unions, setting up an all-but-certain Supreme Court case for next year. Acting in response to a Hawaii Supreme Court decision stating that the Constitution may require that same-sex and opposite-sex unions be treated alike, in 1996 Congress passed DOMA, and President Bill Clinton signed it into...

Click the title to read the full post.

31May/12Off

How Charlie Rangel’s Outrage Shifted From Drugs to Drug Penalties

Reading Mike Riggs' recent
post
about the future of marijuana reform in Congress, I was
struck by the quote from Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), which
suggests how dramatically his drug policy views have changed in the
last few decades:

Marijuana decriminalization is an issue that will undoubtedly
become more prevalent over time. Things are very different from
when I chaired the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and
Control back in the 1980s. Polls have shown that since October
2011, at least 50 percent of Americans favor legalization at the
federal level—a number that is on the rise.

The U.S. already has the highest incarceration rate in the
world. We lock up the majority of inmates for non-violent
drug-related crimes. Instead of attacking the consumers, we should
give them alternatives to poverty and street life to steer them
away from drug abuse in the first place. It simply doesn't make
sense to waste billions of dollars putting hundreds of thousands of
Americans in prison for non-violent offenses of the law.

Back in the 1980s, by contrast, Rangel was such a hardline drug
warrior that he accused Ronald Reagan of being soft on the issue
(although, like our current drug
czar
and the
senior senator
from California, he had kind words for the first
lady's "Just Say No" campaign). In
1989 Ebony profiled
Rangel as "The Front-Line General in the War on Drugs." "We need
outrage!" he told the magazine. "I don't know what is behind the
lackadaisical attitudes towards drugs, but I do know that the
American people have made it abundantly clear: They are outraged by
the indifference of the U.S. government to this problem."
Ebony reported that Rangel also was"outraged that
there has even been debate on the possibility of legalizing drugs,
which, he says, would be 'moral and political suicide.'" As
recently as 1998, Rangel was still saying
"the very idea of legalizing drugs in this country is
counterproductive," asserting that "legalization of drugs would be
a nightmare...in minority communities." Unlike
prohibition
?

Not surprisingly, Rangel was keen on severe punishments for drug
dealers. He backed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which
established the mandatory minimum sentences that have helped give
us "the
highest incarceration rate in the world
." In a 1991
Firing Line debate, he told
William F. Buckley, "We should not allow people to be able to
distribute this poison without the fear that maybe they might be
arrested and put in jail." Even while arguing that "the criminal
justice system is not working," he recommended a mandatory life
sentence for anyone who sells drugs to a minor.

I vividly remember arguing with Rangel at a drug policy seminar
in Maryland around this time. Although I certainly did not expect
him to agree with the libertarian position on drug prohibition, I
was surprised by his refusal to concede that trying to prevent
consensual transactions between adults raises Fourth Amendment
issues and by the vehemence of his opposition to
methadone-based heroin treatment, which put him to the right of
Richard
Nixon
, often identified as the author of the modern-day war on
drugs.

For all I know, Rangel still has a bee in his bonnet about
methadone treatment (which I also have problems with, for somewhat
different reasons). But like other black leaders, he has had second
thoughts about mandatory minimums. In a 2007 Huffington
Post
 op-ed piece, he
wrote
:

The sudden, frightening epidemic of a new street drug—crack
cocaine—and the drug induced death of basketball star Len Bias in
1986—impelled besieged lawmakers to enact stiff punishments for
crack cocaine offenses, including long mandatory minimum jail
sentences. Instead of reducing drug addiction and crime, those
laws—however well-intentioned, swelled prison populations, created
a sentencing divide that victimized young Black men, left a
generation of children fatherless, and drove up the costs of a
justice system focused more on harsh punishment than
rehabilitation.

Rangel was a little too quick to excuse his own complicity in
establishing the draconian sentences he now decries. Crack
"impelled" him, a "besieged" and "well-intentioned"
legislator, to support those absurdly harsh penalties? But to
his credit, Rangel has tried to rectify his error: For the
last five years or so, he has
sponsored
legislation aimed at eliminating the
senseless
sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and
cocaine powder, which was created by the Rangel-supported Anti-Drug
Abuse Act of 1986. Congress has not gone that far yet, although two
years ago it shrank
the gap substantially. Rangel touts his sentencing reform bill on
his website, where he says
"we should focus our law enforcement efforts away from drug addicts
and small-time dealers onto the big-time drug kingpins who supply
them."

Those are not exactly the words of a legalizer. But last summer
Rangel co-sponsored
the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, a bill
introduced
by Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that would
eliminate federal criminal penalties for production, distribution,
and possession of the drug, leaving the states free to address the
issue as they see fit. He
explained
his "proud" support for the bill as part of his
effort to "seriously re-examine our draconian sentencing policies
for drug-related crimes."

Are these shifts based on a genuine change of heart or a sense
of which direction the political winds are blowing (especially,
perhaps, in Rangel's Harlem district, where he faces a tough

re-election battle
 this year)? A little of both, I
suspect. Even corrupt
old hacks
have pangs of conscience from time to time. 

More on Rangel
here
.


31May/12Off

“Polish Death Camps” and “American 9/11 Attacks”

tylko świnie siedzą w kinieThe controversy over President Obama describing
Nazi concentration camps in Poland “Polish death camps” while
awarding the Medal of Freedom posthumously to the Pole known
as Jan
Karski
, who was instrumental in bringing news of the Nazis
murderous and genocidal ways to a skeptical West, may have blown
over quickly in the U.S. press, but it continues to be a hot topic
in Poland, where journalists in the country have helped lead a
decades-long fight to eradicate the wildly offensive misnomer.
David Frum does a really fantastic job
over
at the Daily Beast explaining exactly why the
misnomer is so hurtful coming from the American President. Frum
offers up as an analogy the use of the term “Hawaiian sneak attacks
on Pearl Harbor,” which he calls a “pathetically inadequate
approximation.”

I don’t have much to add to David Frum’s very insightful
comments on the topic, except to offer my own perhaps less
inadequate analogy. Imagine in half a century, some country
somewhere in gratitude to all the sacrifices the United States had
made for it, honors the last surviving first responders to the 9/11
terrorist attacks, and while bestowing honors upon the
firefighters, EMS and police officers there, that country’s
president refers to bravery of the first responders in the
“American attacks on 9/11 that took down the World Trade Center and
damaged the Pentagon.” The planes all departed from American
airports, were part of American airliners, and executed their
attack in America. Yet they were no more American attacks than the
Nazi’s death camps were Polish, even though both tragedies left an
indelible mark on the countries they befell.


31May/12Off

Wingnut Artist McNaughton Comes Out as Hardcore Birther, Cites #Breitbart.com as Source

Recently Sean Hannity's favorite "artist" Jon McNaughton, whose Mormon/JW leaflet-style painting "One Nation Under God" was too extreme for Brigham Young University (McNaughton is a BYU alum) and who thinks that lectures about evolution at BYU show it has a problem with "Liberalism", has come out as a hardcore birther in his blog post "McNaughton and Troy talk about Obama and Socialism":

I believe that Obama has committed many unconstitutional acts since becoming President.

[...]

Also, the evidence is mounting that Obama was in fact born in Kenya. In my original list I did not include this because the evidence was circumstantial at best. But things have changed. (7) If this is resolutely confirmed, it will be one of the greatest lies ever perpetrated upon the American people. Whether it is considered important or not, it is a direct prerequisite of our Constitution, that he be a naturally born citizen. People have tried to ridicule this notion since day one, but Obama has done nothing to resolve this until last year when he released the long form of his BC. Since then, it has been proven to be a forgery and there has been additional evidence, which has shown there is reason to doubt its authenticity. (8)

[...]

(7) [Link: www.washingtontimes.com...]

(8) [Link: www.breitbart.com...]

McNaughton's sources for his "mounting evidence" claim are Joe Arpaio's waste of taxpayers' dollars and Breitbart.com's article by Ben Shapiro regarding Obama's "Kenya bio" nontroversy. Good job, Breitbrats!

Oh, and just in case you didn't get it, McNaughton drew a picture for you: Obama burns the Constitution.

No racism there. Not at all. Nice furniture, though.


31May/12Off

New Yorkers Sound Off on Bloomberg’s Drink Ban

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg outlined a plan Wednesday
to
ban the sale of sugary soft drinks larger than 16 ounces
at
restaurants, movie theaters, street carts and other
venues. 

Reason.tv's Anthony Fisher took to the streets to ask New
Yorkers what they thought about Bloomberg and the ban. 

Approximately 2 minutes.

Camera by Kaplan Akincilar. Produced by Anthony Fisher

Visit Reason.tv for
downloadable versions and
subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel
to receive automatic
updates when new material goes live.


31May/12Off

World of Warcraft Creator Finds Itself on Wrong End of a Raid Over Diablo III Troubles

Every time a major game company screws up, 1,000 memes are born.Korean gamer culture is serious
business. How serious? Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) raided
the Seoul office of Diablo III makers Blizzard
Entertainment Monday investigating complaints from players. The
players complained that the company refused to provide refunds to
those unhappy about poor access to the game since its launch two
weeks ago.

Via
The Korea Times
:

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said the firm is suspected of
having violated the country’s law on electronic commerce and
commercial contracts. The FTC said Tuesday that it raided the
firm’s Seoul office Monday and secured related documents and other
evidence with which it will determine whether Blizzard broke the
law.

The investigation comes only two weeks after the release of the
game, which has sold more than 6.3 million copies worldwide.

Larger-than-expected traffic to the online game’s severs made it
extremely difficult for its users to access the game, particularly
on weekday nights and weekends, according to Blizzard Korea.

Some buyers of the game vented frustration over server shutdowns
and asked for refunds, but the company refused to do so, citing
sales contract terms, which the FTC says is disadvantageous to
consumers.

Diablo III is the latest (and the largest)
representation of relatively new trend in computer gaming,
requiring constant Internet connection and access to a company’s
servers in order to play, even if the game does not have
multiplayer components. In Diablo III, up to four players
can run around slaying demons together and ignoring its
tragicomically awful storyline, but it can also be played
completely solo. Even alone, though, players must have a working
internet connection at all times.

The connection requirement exists for several reasons, most of
which are connected to fighting piracy and cheating. If you’re a
non-gamer wondering why Blizzard would care if people cheat in the
games they bought, the game has an online auction house that will

eventually
allow people to buy items in the game from each
other for real-world money. In Diablo II (which did not
have such an auction house and did not require constant Internet
connection), the game’s “economy” suffered from hackers figuring
out ways to duplicate items in the game and selling them to other
players in a virtual black market. In Diablo III, parts of
the game are on the players’ computers, but some assets are on
Blizzard’s servers to make it much harder for hackers to engage in
virtual counterfeiting and manipulating the market. The issue is
complicated and controversial and no doubt it will be a focus of
discussion with Hit and Run commenters below for anybody who wants
to drill down deeper into the subject.

What has happened here is that Blizzard’s servers are currently
unable to accommodate the number of people who want to play their
game. So even those who have Internet access might not be able to
play their copy of the game because of problems on Blizzard’s end.
The complainants are demanding refunds because they can’t play
their games when they want to, even though the games themselves are
not broken, a complicated consumer issue that is bound to get more
complex as games and information become less and less tied to
personal pieces of equipment (like a PC).

Complicating matters further, Diablo III isn’t a
subscription-based game like World of Warcraft, which has
a monthly fee. Blizzard has credited World of Warcraft
accounts in the past when unexpected server problems rendered the
game unplayable for long lengths of time. Consumers pay for
Diablo III entirely up front. There’s no mechanism for
determining the value of being unable to play for two days in a
month, for example. Thus, frustrated players are demanding a full
refund:

FTC officials said the probe is aimed at confirming whether the
firm has sold the game based on what they describe as an “unfair”
contract so that people cannot receive refunds even if they
discover problems with the game. They said they are studying
whether the company should be held liable for “ill-preparation” for
unexpected traffic.

It’s too early to see any results of the probe but some
investigators expect the regulator to issue an order mandating
Blizzard to provide a full refund to all unhappy customers.