Innocence of Muslims, the low rent,
14-minute propaganda video released in 2012, has sparked a new
controversy. This time it’s not protests in the streets of
Benghazi, but shock and indignation among copyright experts. The
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that one of the video’s
actresses has a copyright interest in it and can therefore force
YouTube to take it down. If this ruling is allowed to stand and it
becomes precedent, get ready to see dozens, if not hundreds, or
lawsuits by actors claiming they own copyright in their
performances, separate and apart from the copyright in the movie
itself. Worse, writes Jerry Brito, by creating a new right in
actors’ performances, this case may make any number of works
unavailable at the behest of actors.
What do you call it when you give a guy money and he turns around and says he’s going to crush you? Rumor has it that Senator Mitch McConnell had connived some donation money out of tea parties and now he’s turned around and punches them in the face. Mitch says that he will crush the tea party and make sure they don’t have a single nominee anywhere in the country.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) believes that incumbent Republicans won’t have a problem holding their seats in the 2014 ...
Some conservatives have started laying into the Oscar-winning movie 12 Years a Slave for creating an unfairly negative portrayal of slavery. You see, the movie portrays slaves being made unhappy by slavery. But that negativity is merely anti-slavery "propaganda," according to James Bowman in conservative magazine The American Spectator:
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Saturday the Washington Senate
passed a bill that addresses some of the
concerns that patients have about new restrictions on medical
5887, introduced by Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center), is
substantially more permissive than H.B.
2149, the medical marijuana bill
approved last month by the state House of Representatives,
although both bills would abolish dispensaries, require patients to
register with the state, and reduce limits on possession and
cultivation. The patient-friendlier provisions of S.B. 5887, which
passed by a vote of 34 to 15, include:
Collective gardens. The House bill would ban
dispensaries (a.k.a. "collective gardens") as of May 2015, while
the Senate bill would let them continue to operate until that
September. Even after then, the Senate bill would let patients (or
their designated providers) pool their resources and grow marijuana
together for their own medical use. S.B. 5887 includes rules aimed
at preventing collective gardens from evolving into dispensaries:
Just one garden is allowed per location, no more than four patients
may grow together at a time, and at least 15 days must elapse after
one member leaves before a new member may join.
Cultivation limit. Each patient (or a
designated provider) would be allowed to grow up to six plants
(down from 15 currently), but there would be no limit on how many
of those six plants could be flowering at one time.
Purchase limits. Patients could buy up to three
ounces of marijuana (more if a health professional says it is
necessary), 48 ounces of marijuana-infused products in solid form,
216 ounces of marijuana-infused liquids, and 21 grams of
concentrates from the state-licensed pot stores that are supposed
to start opening this summer. Those are three times the limits for
recreational customers. The current possession limit for patients
is 24 ounces of marijuana.
Tax exemptions. When they buy cannabis from
stores with "medical marijuana endorsements," registered patients
would not have to pay the standard sales tax or the retail-level
excise tax, but the latter exemption would expire in September
2015. "I am not happy about that, and we'll be fighting for its
reinstatement this week," says Philip Dawdy, media and policy
director at the Washington Cannabis
Supply and access. The state Liquor Control
Board, which would be renamed the Liquor and Cannabis Board, would
required to "increase the amount of square feet available for
production by marijuana producers if the producer agrees to use the
extra space to grow products for medical use and for sale to
medical marijuana endorsed stores." On the retail end, the board
must "reconsider the maximum number of retail outlets permitted
and allow for a new license period and a greater number of retail
outlets in order to accommodate the medical needs of qualifying
patients." When it does so, "a preference may be given to those
license applicants who intend to operate a medical-only store."
Medical strains. The Liquor and Cannabis
must "adopt rules on products sold to qualifying patients
under an endorsement, including THC concentration, CBD
[cannabidiol] concentration, and THC to CBD ratios appropriate
for patient use." State-licensed pot stores would be allowed
to "identify the strains, varieties, THC levels and CBD levels" of
their products, although state regulations prohibit the sort of
symptom-specific advice currently available from dispensaries.
"We'll have to work with LCB in rule making to straighten out what
people can say," Dawdy says.
amendment to H.B. 5887 defines "principal care provider"—the
person authorized to recommend marijuana for a patient—as a "health
care professional who is designated by a qualifying patient." That
provision should help veterans who receive primary care through
V.A. hospitals where doctors are not allowed to recommend
Affirmative defense. Patients with
doctor's recommendations would continue to have an affirmative
defense against marijuana charges until April 1, 2016, after which
they would have to register with the state, which would give them
immunity from arrest.
Registry privacy. In addition to
confirming a patient's eligibility for higher purchase limits and
tax exemptions, information from the registry could be
shared with a law enforcement agency "engaged in a bona fide
specific investigation of suspected marijuana-related activity that
is illegal under Washington state law." Illegally sharing
information from the registry would be a
Class C felony.
"I'm not calling it good," Dawdy says, "but it is a workable
framework for medical going forward." The Senate and the House
have until Thursday to agree on a compromise bill.
The deadline for
Reason magazine’s paid ten-week summer internship,
which begins in June, is coming up (March 26).
Given that the deadline is a little over two weeks away I
thought it would be worth reiterating the advice my former
Mike Riggs gave to potential intern applicants almost a year
Write the hell out of your cover letter
Show some familiarity with the publication
Tell me what you can do for us, because we know what we can do
I cannot stress enough the importance of taking these tips
seriously. As I mentioned
back in November, talented applicants have ruined their chances
of being considered for an internship at Reason by failing to do
something as simple as following instructions.
Something I have been noticing since I have started looking over
intern applications is the tendency for applicants to write almost
identical cover letters to dozens of publications. These cover
letters express an interest in a career in journalism but
oftentimes do not mention why they want to be at Reason in
particular. An application with a cover letter that mentions issues
Reason is known for covering or the writings of a particular editor
is going to grab my attention much more than an application with a
cover letter that mentions Reason once in the introductory
Interns here get to write for Reason.com and Reason
magazine about topics that interest them. Our current intern,
Hertig, has been writing about technology, Bitcoin, and civil
Evans, who did such a fine job as an intern we hired him,
interviewed Russian libertarian activist
Vera Kichanova during his internship. Guy Bentley, who
now works at the London-based City A.M. (which you should
all be reading), wrote about foreign
affairs while he was an intern here.
As well as writing, Reason interns provide admin assistance to
the office, assist staff with research, and transcribe interviews.
The internship is based in Washington, D.C., and interns are
encouraged to attend events in the city that interest them.
If you want to pursue a paid journalism internship in
Washington, D.C. that will allow you to write about topics that
interest you please send in an application. But make sure to take
the tips above seriously.
If you have a question send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How hard is it to read the “nutrition facts”
label on a package of food? According to the Obama administration,
it’s nearly impossible. But do we really need the government’s help
figuring out what’s best to eat? A. Barton Hinkle says we don’t,
and then explains why more government involvement in food labeling
will only make things worse.
Wacko Birds vs. Angry Birds split in today's tumultuous GOP has
tended to distract from the split-within-the-split when it comes to
Tea Party types and foreign policy.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), representing the
anti-interventionist strain, has
insisted from the get-go that the Tea Party is an explicit
rejection of neoconservative belligerence. While that seemed like
wishful thinking in 2011, the notion gained more plausibility by
September 2003, when many TP groups and politicians went all-in
against the Obama administration's
neocon-backed attempts to use force in Syria. When Paul's
ambitious and considerably more hawkish Wacko Bird Senate
colleagues Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida)
joined the doves on Syria, it was a telltale sign that the
intervention was doomed.
Well, that was then. Vladimir Putin's thuggish takeover of
Crimea and menacing gestures toward Eastern Ukraine are generating
a lot of hawk-talk about the alleged consequences of American
"weakness," and its possible embodiment in
anti-interventionists like Paul. On
ABC News yesterday, O.G. Wacko Bird Ted Cruz made it
"I'm a big fan of Rand Paul. He
and I are good friends. But I don't agree with him on foreign
policy," Cruz said. "I think U.S. leadership is critical in the
world. And I agree with him that we should be very reluctant to
deploy military force abroad. But I think there is a vital role,
just as Ronald Reagan did… The United States has a responsibility
to defend our values." [...]
"A critical reason for Putin's aggression has been President
Obama's weakness," Cruz told Karl on "This Week." "That Putin fears
no retribution… [Obama's] policy has been to alienate and abandon
our friends and to coddle and appease our enemies."
"You'd better believe Putin sees in Benghazi four Americans are
murdered, the first ambassador killed in service since 1979, and
nothing happens," Cruz added, echoing comments by
other Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. "You'd better
believe that Putin sees that in Syria, Obama draws a red line and
ignores the red line. You'd better believe that Putin sees all over
When asked about Russia's record of aggression before Obama
became president, including its invasion of Georgia during the
presidency of George W. Bush, Cruz instead slammed Obama [...]
Rand Paul, who
one year ago went to the Heritage Foundation to unveil what he
portrayed as his Reaganesque vision for foreign policy,
did not take kindly to Cruz's co-opting of the Gipper, writing
a Breitbart.com column titled "Stop Warping Reagan’s Foreign
Reagan clearly believed in a strong national defense and in
"Peace through Strength." He stood up to the Soviet Union, and he
led a world that pushed back against Communism.
But Reagan also believed in diplomacy and demonstrated a
reasoned approach to our nuclear negotiations with the Soviets.
Reagan’s shrewd diplomacy would eventually lessen the nuclear
arsenals of both countries.
Many forget today that Reagan’s decision to meet with Mikhail
Gorbachev was harshly
criticized by the Republican
hawks of his time, some of whom would even call Reagan
In the Middle East, Reagan strategically pulled back our forces
after the tragedy in Lebanon in 1983 that killed 241 Marines,
realizing the cost of American lives was too great for the
Without a clearly defined mission, exit strategy or acceptable
rationale for risking soldiers lives, Reagan possessed the
leadership to reassess and readjust.
Today, we forget that some of the Republican hawks of his time
criticized Reagan harshly for this too, again, calling
him an appeaser. [...]
I also greatly admire that Reagan was not rash or reckless with
regard to war. Reagan advised potential foreign adversaries not to
mistake our reluctance for war for a lack of resolve.
What America needs today is a Commander-in-Chief who will defend
the country and project strength, but who is also not eager for
Regarding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for example, there is
little difference among most Republicans on what to do. All of us
believe we should stand up to Putin's aggression. Virtually no one
believes we should intervene militarily.
So we are then faced with a finite menu of diplomatic measures
to isolate Russia, on most of which we all agree, such as sanctions
and increased economic pressure.
Yet, some politicians have used this time to beat their chest.
What we don't need right now is politicians who have never seen war
talking tough for the sake of their political careers.
Tart, substantive exchanges like that are one of the reasons I
lament the GOP's decision to
condense its 2016 presidential nominating schedule. The
Republican Party's approach toward foreign policy is up for grabs,
and with it the party's potential popularity. Surely on questions
of life and death, more debate is better than less.
Biden Cavorts With Socialists, Communists and Dictators In South America… While Weakly Chastising Venezuela
By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Fausta’s Blog: This in NOT a demonstration, this is a line to buy food in Venezuela.
The result of 15 years of Chavismo.
What the world is seeing in Venezuela is a glimpse at what might await the US if inflation spirals out of control. Naked, brutal hunger as food is severely limited to only what the government of Venezuela allows into the country. They import everything. Sound eerily familiar? It should. The US is becoming an importer nation and is not the producer she once was. Protests and violence ...
testimony published last week by the European Parliament's
Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs, NSA
snooping whistleblower Edward Snowden told lawmakers that mass
spying has proven to be an especially ineffective means of
deterring wrongdoing. NSA claims to have prevented multiple
terrorist attacks evaporate upon actual scrutiny. Worse, he says,
the NSA is so busy probing the general public's gaming habits and
personal communications that it has no time or resources to devote
to anything useful—like stopping terrorists.
The first principle any inquiry must take into account is that
despite extraordinary political pressure to do so, no western
government has been able to present evidence showing that such
programs are necessary. In the United States, the heads of our
spying services once claimed that 54 terrorist attacks had been
stopped by mass surveillance, but two independent White House
reviews with access to the classified evidence on which this claim
was founded concluded it was untrue, as did a Federal Court.
Looking at the US government's reports here is valuable. The
most recent of these investigations, performed by the White House's
Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, determined that the
mass surveillance program investigated was not only
ineffective--they found it had never stopped even a single imminent
terrorist attack--but that it had no basis in law.
Specifically, the board
concluded, "we have not identified a single instance involving
a threat to the United States in which the program made a concrete
difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation."
When it comes to legal concerns, the board
noted "There are four grounds upon which we find that the
telephone records program fails to comply with Section 215," that
"the program violates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act,"
and that "The NSA’s telephone records program also raises concerns
under both the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States
The board's report also cautioned, "the bulk collection of
telephone records can be expected to have a chilling effect on the
free exercise of speech and association, because individuals and
groups engaged in sensitive or controversial work have less reason
to trust in the confidentiality of their relationships as revealed
by their calling patterns."
Needless to say, the White House
glibly rejected the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight
Snowden went on to point out the failings of the NSA's
all-you-can-hoover approach to surveillance.
I believe that suspicionless surveillance not only fails to make
us safe, but it actually makes us less safe. By squandering
precious, limited resources on "collecting it all," we end up with
more analysts trying to make sense of harmless political dissent
and fewer investigators running down real leads. I believe
investing in mass surveillance at the expense of traditional,
proven methods can cost lives, and history has shown my concerns
Despite the extraordinary intrusions of the NSA and EU national
governments into private communications world-wide, Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab, the "Underwear Bomber," was allowed to board an
airplane traveling from Europe to the United States in 2009. The
290 persons on board were not saved by mass surveillance, but by
his own incompetence, when he failed to detonate the device. While
even Mutallab's own father warned the US government he was
dangerous in November 2009, our resources were tied up monitoring
online games and tapping German ministers. That extraordinary
tip-off didn't get Mutallab a dedicated US investigator. All we
gave him was a US visa.
Nor did the US government's comprehensive monitoring of
Americans at home stop the Boston Bombers. Despite the Russians
specifically warning us about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the FBI couldn't
do more than a cursory investigation--although they did plenty of
worthless computer-based searching--and failed to discover the
plot. 264 people were injured, and 3 died. The resources that could
have paid for a real investigation had been spent on monitoring the
call records of everyone in America.
Snowden's testimony also ranged over disclosures to come, and
the complicity of European spy agencies in snooping on each other's
citizens—and then sharing the data with the NSA, which gets the
full package. Countries even modify their privacy laws to make the
NSA's job (and that of their own agencies) easier.
All of this, to suck up more data than the spies can process, at
the expense of targeting real threats.
A Montana couple whose son was born with meth and marijuana in his system are now accused of letting their older child, 2, smoke pot.
Lucas Keith Wilson and Camilla Rose Samuels are charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The investigation began when Samuels’ mother found a video of the toddler smoking a pipe.
Prosecutors say both Wilson and Samuels told investigators they let the boy smoke marijuana five times since August.
Wilson said it would make the boy mellow.
They did not keep their drug use a secret and were ...
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has
succeeded in stifling sales for innovative genetic testing company
23andMe. "It has slowed up the number of people signing up,"
23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki said during a speech at
music/tech/everything festival South by Southwest (SXSW) on
public largely supports direct-to-consumer sales of gene screening
tests, which for as little as $99 can reveal information such
as ancestry and the presence of hereditary diseases and conditions.
But the FDA worried that consumers may make unwise medical
decisions based on their results. The FDA wants to stop consumers
from accessing important health information for their own good,
Meanwhile, in foreign countries, scholars and government
agencies are going ahead and partnering with 23andMe to continue
moving medicine into the 21st century. At the SXSW
panel, Wojcicki said 23andMe now has 650,000 people in its
database and is "being inundated with requests from academics and
Genetics is going to become extremely cheap and part of our
daily life, she said. In China, the Beijing Genome Institute is now
the largest genome testing firm in the world, and Saudi Arabia, the
UK and others are all strong in this area.
Wojcicki also talked about how genetic screening can be used to
reduce health care costs and shift focus from disease treatment to
prevention. This, however, makes it unpopular with both
pharmaceutical companies and their buddies in the FDA, who have
more motive to make sick people better than to keep well people
from getting sick. Wojcicki said she was told by one doctor that,
"the problem with 23andMe is that you generate non-billable
Non-billable, private information—23andMe allows
consumers to access their genetic info without a physician,
insurance company, or government middleman (which is probably
another strike against it in the FDA's eyes). “Everyone has the
right to their genetic information and to use it," said Wojcicki.
For now, however, 23andMe doesn't have the right to tell you how to
get that information.
Here's a doubly interesting Smithsonian
story about a study in southeast Asia. After examining pollen
samples from Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Thailand, and Vietnam, the
magazine reports, the paleoecologist Chris Hunt and the
archeologist Ryan Rabett concluded that "humans have shaped these
landscapes for thousands of years." That may sound uncontroversial,
but it isn't: "Although scientists previously believed the forests
were virtually untouched by people, researchers are now pointing to
signs of imported seeds, plants cultivated for food, and land
clearing as early as 11,000 years ago—around the end of the last
The article goes on to explain the evidence and reasoning that
led Hunt and Rabett to their conclusions, as well as how their
findings feed into "a larger discussion about when and how our
species began shaping the world around us." All very interesting
stuff, especially for those of us who do not fetishize "untouched"
"wilderness" and see human beings as a part of nature, not an
intrusive alien force.
And then we get to the other reason the piece is interesting.
Hunt thinks there's a political dimension to his work, a way to
help indigenous people stake out a Lockean claim to their
This kind of research is about more than glimpsing
ancient ways of life. It could also present powerful information
for people who live in these forests today. According to Hunt,
"Laws in several countries in Southeast Asia do not recognize the
rights of indigenous forest dwellers on the grounds that they are
nomads who leave no permanent mark on the landscape." The long
history of forest management traced by this study, he says, offers
these groups "a new argument in their case against eviction."
Such tensions have played out beyond Southeast Asia. In Australia,
for example, "the impact of humans on the environment is clear
stretching back over 40,000 years or so," says environmental
geoscientist Dan Penny, of The University of Sydney. And yet, he
says, "the material evidence of human occupation is scarce."
Starting in the 18th century, the British used that fact "to
justify their territorial claim" to land inhabited by Aboriginal
Australians—declaring it terra nullius (belonging to
no-one), establishing a colony, and eventually claiming sovereignty
over the entire continent.
It would be a stretch, of course, to treat that pollen alone as
a property title, especially so many centuries later and among men
and women who aren't necessarily the descendents of the people
who lived in those forests 11,000 years ago. But as a way to change
the terms of the conversation around those seizures and
evictions—to show that mixing your labor with the land can take
many forms, and that individuals can intervene in their
environments in ways that aren't always obvious to outsiders—Hunt
may well be right about his study's implications.
You can read the rest of the Smithsonian
And if you're willing to shell out $35.95 for it—or if you have
access to the site through an academic institution—you can download
Hunt and Rabett's paper from the Journal of Archaeological
Do you write? Are you looking
for a free ride? Do you like Amtrak, or can you at least avoid
disparaging it? If so, it wants to hear from you:
Amtrak is excited to announce the official launch of
the #AmtrakResidency program.
#AmtrakResidency was designed to allow
creative professionals who are passionate about train travel and
writing to work on their craft in an inspiring environment.
Round-trip train travel will be provided on an Amtrak long-distance
route. Each resident will be given a private sleeper car, equipped
with a desk, a bed and a window to watch the American countryside
roll by for inspiration. Routes will be determined based on
Amtrak is one of those worst of both worlds public/private
hybrids. Instead of using the power of privatization to improve
services previously offered by government (what happens in
successful public private partnerships), Amtrak is a “for-profit”
corporation that doesn’t actually turn a profit because it gets
annual funding from the federal government and various state
governments who have stepped in any time the feds have tried to
How bad is it at Amtrak? Their 2013 budget and business plan
spun nearly 40 years of operating deficits as a good thing because
the “history of operating deficits demonstrates consistent
improvement over a long period”, when viewed in 2012 U.S. dollars.
In nominal U.S. dollars, operating deficits have remained
Amtrak has just one profitable division to speak of, the
Northeast Corridor, which runs from Boston to Washington, D.C.
On this route, Amtrak tickets are most expensive. They help
off-set much lower prices in other parts of the U.S., where local
members of Congress tend to lobby Amtrak to keep prices down even
when price hikes might not bring the routes to profitability. And
even in the case of the Northeast Corridor, it’s only “profitable”
excluding the route’s capital costs, for which Amtrak insists
it still needs a government subsidy, as it does for most of its
So what’s the wisdom of a “Residency” for a company that’s never
managed to even break even? Amtrak still advertises, and its
support among enough Washington politicians probably ensures it
will continue to be able to bleed money and get away with it. Is
the “Amtrak Residency” a transparent attempt to buy some positive
press from participants? Amtrak skeptics, libertarians, and other
critics of the government appear to need not apply. The official terms of the
program outline that applications cannot “[d]isparage sponsor, its
agencies, any other person or entity affiliated with the Program or
products, services or entities that are competitive with any of the
foregoing.” At an estimated retail value of $900 per “residency,”
it could be cheap but useful propaganda for a company that relies
on money from politicians and not a profitable business model.
Via the Twitter feed of Doug
The International Narcotics Control Board insists
that all countries conform to its reading of anti-drug treaties,
regardless of what their own laws say. Jacob Sullum writes that the
escalation of the INCB's zero-tolerance scolding may signal a
worldwide re-evaluation of the never-ending, always failing war on