the company you keep

Finding examples of reasons to despise an organization like the National Organization for Marriage is, to use Radley Balko's formulation, like "standing next to a barrel." Easy targets bore me.

But I can't let this one go without comment. The recent document dump from Maine has revealed a lot of ugly things about the inner workings of NOM, none of which are terribly surprising. The one that really should get more attention is found on page 25 of this document, which includes $120,000 for an outreach coordinator "to identify children of gay parents willing to speak on camera."

It is one thing to advocate for your vision of what families ought to be. It is quite another to prod the children of families that exist to denounce their parents in the service of that agenda.

Do keep that in mind when NOM and their allies tell you that they are "pro-family."



the plot thickens

I haven't written about the Trayvon Martin case (here) because I haven't felt I've anything to really add. I am definitely concerned that people's opinions on both sides are heavy on ideology and light on available facts.

I've encountered two pieces of information today that have me thinking that Mr. Zimmerman should be facing charges. And I don't think he's the only one.

The first: I listened to the tape of the 911 call from a neighbor, in which you can clearly hear someone screaming for help in the background, and eventually, a gunshot. (You can listen for yourself here...skip to 2:50 if you just want to hear the call.) Zimmerman has claimed that was him screaming for help. I suppose that's possible. I don't know what he sounds like when he's screaming for help.

But it sounds a lot like a teenage boy to me.

The second: this video released by ABC News this evening. It is surveillance from the police station as Zimmerman is being brought in, immediately after the incident, at which time both he and the police have claimed he sustained injuries consistent with a physical struggle in which he had been punched in the nose, knocked to the ground, and had his head slammed into the ground.

He looks pretty good to me.

If the video is legit, this is pretty damning for Mr. Zimmerman, and the police who filed that report.

We shall see.




Until the GOP specifies its massive spending cuts, alongside its further tax cuts and huge defense spending plans, then they deserve to be treated with contempt. If you've touted yourselves as the champions of fiscal rectitude, you'd better have the proposals clear. We know what the record of Republican presidents is: more increased spending than Democrats in far better economic times. Voting for the GOP in the past has meant voting for more and more debt and spending. If they intend to break that pattern they better show us exactly how.

Electing Republicans to fix the budget is like hiring Jerry Sandusky to watch your kids.


liberal: libertarians should probably consider voting Libertarian

I really like what Paul Constant has to say here:

I'm not going to lie: As a lefty-left-wing progressive liberal, I have an agenda in directing [Ron Paul supporters] to [support Gary] Johnson. I think that a strong Libertarian Party would pull votes from the Republican Party and make it easier for Democrats to win. But as I said in my piece about the Libertarian convention, I think the Republican Party is pretending to be Libertarian right now because George W. Bush destroyed their brand. I would rather see Libertarians take the place of Republicans in the long run, because I think elections would be real, meaningful discussions between two real, meaningful worldviews. I think my message is better than yours. But I think your message deserves to be heard, and I think the way Republicans have pretended to be Libertarians while still endorsing huge military spending and diminishing civil liberties is shameful. I think the best way to promote your message is by supporting Gary Johnson, and I think the best time to join up with Johnson is right now, before Ron Paul throws his support behind the Republican Party for the sake of a few talking points at the RNC this summer.
Among my friends, family,  and acquaintances inclined to vote Republican--or at least this year, disinclined to vote for Mr. Obama--I am reasonably certain that not a one of them is motivated by a desire to oppress gay people or outlaw contraception, or by an abiding suspicion that Mr. Obama is some sort of crypto-Muslim Manchurian candidate incumbent.

(If they are, they at least know me well enough to keep that shit to themselves.)

I'm not saying that they're all libertarians, but I think it's high time my Republican friends started to realize that the people Andrew Sullivan has so aptly named "Christianists" aren't a faction of the Republican Party. In 2012, they are the Republican Party. How else do you explain the fact that a candidate like Mitt Romney--a successful governor of a blue state who is so wholesome he makes Pat Boone look like Kei$ha and has more money than god to spend on campaigning--can't seal the deal over a theocrat that lost his Senate seat by 18 points?

Ron Paul has done more in this primary season than anyone--including me--realistically expected him to do. My hat is off to him. He's exposed a deep and real discontent on the right. But it simply isn't enough to change the GOP from within.

I, too, would like to see the Libertarians (or a libertarian party, if not the Libertarian Party) replace the Republican Party. I've been arguing for years that the LP's focus on the presidency is mostly a waste of time, and that what they really ought to be doing is working on becoming the second political party in places (like, for instance, Seattle) that are essentially one-party towns.

But Paul (Constant) is right, here. This is a fine time for disaffected Republicans to jump ship. The GOP hasn't had a candidate as weak as Romney in a long time. He isn't going to be president. The LP has never had a candidate as good as Johnson (assuming they have the good sense to actually nominate him, which is not a given.) Libertarians and fiscal conservatives who say they don't care about the moral issues (and especially those that actively disagree with the GOP line on them) ought to realize that they don't have a natural home in the GOP anymore.

If they ever did.


the agony and the ecstasy of mike daisey

"Never let the facts get in the way of a good story."
--Nucky Thompson*

I listened to This American Life's "Retraction" episode yesterday, and it was truly painful.

If you really care about the working conditions of factory workers in China (and I will be the first to admit that this falls pretty low on my personal hierarchy of outrage), you should be furious with Mike Daisey. Because to the extent that the kinds of things he talks about might be happening in China, he's made it very easy for everyone from Chinese nationalists to American importers to simply point to the heaping pile of bullshit that is The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs and say, "hey, it's not really that bad."  Even the most hard-nosed, fact-based journalism on the subject--especially if it's done by someone from the west--is going to have to deal with the taint of this thing for a long time.

The tragedy here is that there is a long literary tradition--from Oliver Twist, to Uncle Tom's Cabin, to The Jungle, and beyond--of using fictionalized accounts of very real social problems to make the general public aware of what is happening. Daisey's play could have been performed exactly as it was written if it had simply been presented as such a fictionalization, and it very likely would have had the same impact**.

Even when you don't claim the mantle of "journalist", there is tremendous danger in putting yourself at the center of a story that you present as "true". It takes balls (or, if you prefer, ovaries) to be unflinchingly honest about yourself: about when you fail, when you lack courage, or (perhaps especially) when you are just plain boring. I suspect this is where Daisey fell. I suspect that his trip to China wasn't really all that interesting, though he probably heard some compelling stories while he was there. I suspect that there is probably a lot of truth in the story he told, even though the facts seem to be largely fabrications.

I have to hand it to Ira Glass and the rest of the TAL staff: they screwed the pooch on this one, but they've owned up to it as best as I think anyone can be expected to. We could all stand to own our mistakes like that.

*Naturally, this quote has been attributed to everyone from Mark Twain to the first editor of a thousand newspaper columnists. And of course, Nucky Thompson wasn't real, either, though Nucky Johnson was. Probably. 

**Erica Grieder makes a very strong counterpoint to this:
Some have suggested that Mr Daisey could have had a similar emotional impact, without all the controversy, if he had simply clarified that his work was largely fiction and merely inspired by real events. The problem is that Mr Daisey's monologue is only partly a critique of working conditions in Chinese factories. It's also an indictment of Western complacency in the face of the same—complacency on the part of the consumers and on the part of actual journalists. That being the case, Mr Daisey's description of his "reporting" techniques matters. We know that most of the things he describes happening at the Foxconn factory actually have happened, if not at the factory in question. We know that because journalists have reported them as they occurred. But Mr Daisey is suggesting that all of this is happening at once, at the same high-profile site, and that anyone could have strolled up and seen for themselves...

Mr Daisey is also making an argument about the failings of the observers, and his lies about how he came to document all these things aren't a dramatic device—they're the linchpin for that argument. [em. added] That is, one of the failures he wants to condemn is the failure of the media. But in order to make the case that the media is actually failing, he needed to support the counterfactual that they could be doing so much better. And he couldn't actually prove that, so he just lied about it.



the desert is a tactile experience

I lived in Tucson for just over seven years (1999-2006), which is eight summers, which is how you learn to count it. Summer starting sometime around late April (triple-digit highs typically make their first appearance around the first week of May) and ending sometime in mid-October. My wife and I got hitched (outside, naturally) on the 24th of September, at sunset. It was a crisp 90 degrees.

(If you say something about a dry heat, I will punch you in the throat.)

The thing is, you do learn to live with it. Move economically. Breathe shallowly. Seek shade wherever you can. Never pass up a gulp of water. Never completely close the windows to your car when you park. Never, ever, ever, spend more than an hour outside without sunscreen (much less than that, if you are fair-skinned.) Beyond all that, your expectations of comfort simply adjust. By my second summer, I could go running when it was 95 degrees outside. I'd come home with salt crystals in my beard, and drink a couple of liters of water in less than 5 minutes.

Before last week, I'd only been back to Tucson once, in 2008. I've lived in Seattle since the beginning of '10. Seattle, where we cracked 80 degrees for about 2 hours last summer (really).

It was nighttime when we arrived. While waiting for our luggage, we stepped outside for a moment. I didn't realize this, but I instinctively brace myself whenever I pass through an exterior door now, expecting a blast of cool air, moisture, wind, or (more likely) some combination of the three. I braced myself even as I could see the rock gardens and cacti beyond the curb, and the automatic doors slid open, and I felt--nothing. The air felt exactly the same outside as it did inside. Still, dry, and a completely unnoticeable temperature.

When we got to our friend's apartment, we had to wait a bit for her to arrive (long story). Her place is less than a mile from downtown, but I could see the stars blanket the sky. The air was so still and quiet I could hear a slight ringing in my ears that must be there all the time--the years of drums and marching band and headphones and riding with the top down have taken their utterly predictable toll--but is usually drowned out by the white noise of the lab, the ever-present din of traffic, the buzz of airplanes, the wind off of Puget Sound. I made a mental note to find a truly silent place at home to test this theory out. I haven't found it yet.

The first morning, I stepped out onto the patio with my cup of coffee. The sun was well up--it was nearly 10--but the patio was still in shadow. I walked across the cool concrete (I'm outside! Barefoot!) to the back wall, and leaned out into the sunlight. It hit my left cheek like a gentle slap. I can't remember the last time I really felt the sun.

I've got about a hundred reasons not to be there anymore. Summer is awful. I spent more time behind the wheel of a car in 5 days than I usually spend in a month. (And I wasn't even going to work.) The city itself is basically one strip mall after another. The food is amazing, but if I made a habit of eating the way I did last week, I'd be as big as a house.

And yet...when I sit on a rocky peak in the blazing sun overlooking this landscape that still after all these years feels like another planet to me, there's something that pulls me back. Hard.


by the time i get to arizona

I'm heading to my old stomping grounds in the desert for a few days. I have no agenda except to soak up as much sunshine and Mexican food as I can. I will probably be doing a lot of reading and a little writing. Maybe here, maybe not.



In the highly unlikely event that I ever run for public office, I would like to take this opportunity to make the job of the pundits of the future much easier, by detailing to the best of my abilities my political and social activities over the last couple of decades. This is really important, because we all know that a videotape of something you said can emerge two decades hence and this is of course how people will know what it is that you REALLY believe.

OK, here we go:

--In 1995 or thereabouts I helped lead a prayer rally at the flagpole of my high school.
--In 1996 I tried to attend a Bob Dole rally at Georgia Tech, but couldn't get in.
--In 1998 I spent a summer as media coordinator for a Libertarian candidate for Senate. This candidate ran on a platform of eliminating all third party health care payments and pulling the US out of NAFTA.
--In 2002 and 2003, I attended several anti-Iraq war rallies.
--From 2007-2009, I was member of an activist street band that played at various events around our community. Among other things, we actively participated in the NC Pride parade. Members of that band (both past and present) include avowed Marxists and anarchists, some of whom are currently very active in the Occupy movement. I count several of these people among my close friends.
--Monetary contributions over the years have been made to: the Libertarian Party of Georgia, Ron Paul's 2008 campaign, Equality NC (a pro marriage equality group), Sensible Washington (a pro marijuana legalization group), Washington United for Marriage (another pro marriage equality group), the Eno River  Association, various local free clinics, and probably quite a few things I've forgotten about. Oh, and the mayoral and state senatorial campaigns of personal friends.
--I've been registered as a Libertarian (in GA), a Democrat (in AZ and NC), a Republican (in AZ). WA does not have party registration.
--In 2012, I am serving as a delegate to the King County Republican Convention.

I think if you took any one of those items alone, you would end up with a factually correct, but far from complete idea about what my political inclinations are or may be. And really, my "political life" has been a very, very small thing. There aren't that many data points. Imagine how many data points exist for anyone intent on pursuing a public political career.

I never really followed the career of Andrew Breitbart, and don't have any particularly strong opinions about the content of his work. His style was not something that appeals to me. It seems highly likely that he precipitated his own death by what was by all accounts an astonishingly heavy workload. One of the products of which--which he himself had trumpeted as being explosive in its implications for the current president--has now been released posthumously. And I have to say...really? That's it?

I hope the people he left behind that loved him think it was all worth it.


rise of the geeks

It's not exactly news that geek culture has gone more or less mainstream in the last decade and change. I'd actually argue that this is a function of "the mainstream" simply getting so broad as to almost be a meaningless designation at this point. We have more culture, and more outlets to discover and consume it. As a result, we have more and better stuff, and also tons and tons of crap. But personally, I wouldn't have it any other way.

TNC points to a recent Fresh Air interview with William Shatner, and quotes this bit that I really like:

So when I left "Star Trek," I left it with pride and went on to other things. And then "Star Trek" started to become popular about six years afterwards, as it went into syndication. And then people started talking about, hey, there's - beam me up, Scotty. And there's Captain Kirk. And, you know, and then somebody would say: Do you really go where no man has gone before - in that sort of semi-mocking tone that I thought, well, all right. Maybe it wasn't as good as I thought it was. And maybe I wasn't as good as I thought I was. And I held myself up defensively.

It was only watching Patrick Stewart - and I have great respect for Patrick, both as an actor and as man. I love him. And the gravitas that this great Shakespearean actor gave to his role, that I suddenly realized that this guy is taking Captain Picard every bit as seriously as Macbeth. And I used to. And I stopped. And what the hell's the matter with me? It was a great piece of work. Everybody contributed to three years that has lasted 50. It's a phenomenon. Why aren't I proud of it? And that's when I had that moment.
Coates goes on to comment:

It's pretty much the same with comic books, D&D and computer gaming. People mock what they don't understand. What's interesting is we're now getting to this point where those elements are taking over the world. Part of that is seeing people like Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart take Star Trek, X-Men and Lord of the Rings seriously. They aren't simply bringing gravitas to the source material, they are reflecting the seriousness that those of us who enjoyed the material always felt.

My only beef with Transformers is I really believe someone with serious thoughts on animation, and a serious love of story-telling, could have taken it seriously and offered something more than explosions and eye-candy. It's the weirdest thing--the world of geeks re-animated for broskis. 

That is indeed weird, and I never really thought of it that way. Though I do find it hard to believe that is his only beef with Transformers.

quick hits on super tuesday

--Romney still hasn't won in the south, except in Virginia where Santorum and Gingrich weren't even on the ballot. And there, he won with only 60% of the vote, which means he picked up at most half of the "not Romney vote" in the absence of the two Not Romneys. He is having the same problem in the more rural states of the midwest (OK, ND).

Evangelicals are not voting for him. It's the Mormon thing. I'm telling you, it's the Mormon thing.

--Ron Paul has hit his ceiling. The primaries move to winner-take-all now. What he does with his small, but significant and highly motivated block of voters will be his legacy. We shall see.

--I think either Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich could still steal the nomination (I'd put it at 3:1) if and only if one of them dropped out and fully supported the other, sometime this week. I'm pretty sure both of their egos will prevent this from happening.


my life as a republican, part 2

[Ed: written under the influence yesterday, prudently saved as a draft for later clean-up. I've tried to preserve the voice as best I can while making it readable. I should probably do this more often. -B]

I've had a lot of time to think over my venture into local Republican politics in the last 48 hours, as I spent a good chunk of yesterday in bed trying to fight off a cold I seem to have picked up (not from the Republicans; my throat was sore when I got up Saturday) and the rest of the time I've been working on a manuscript which frankly bores the living shit out of me and when not sleeping I find myself in a sort of detached-head fog of pseudoephedrine and the occasional shot of whiskey with enough coffee to keep me going and that cocktail makes me really want a cigarette but that would be the worst thing for me right now because smoking makes me write run-on sentences. Also, the cold.

The weather is shitty the moment I step outside. I get where I'm going and the sun comes out. Now, as I think about making my way home, the skies darken and everything else is just peachy.

Where was I? Right, the Republicans...

Talked to my dad Saturday. Won't divulge the particulars of the conversation because I didn't ask but suffice it to say we view the upcoming election very differently, despite the fact that we agree on an awful lot and my temperament is a lot like his (I realize more with each passing year) and I have complete respect for his opinions and so I'm left wondering what that's all about. I'm sure he is, too.

And fuck it, it doesn't matter anyway. Georgia will vote for (probably) Romney and Washington will vote for Obama and none of what either of us does will make a damn bit of difference, and I'll still like calling him on the phone to talk about politics, and religion, and Georgia Tech football.

If Mitt tied this thing up on Tuesday, that'd be just fine with me. Save me a trip to Bellevue. I'll be interested to see if he manages to make his way back to being the halfway decent pragmatist capable of working with the other party to get shit done that he was when he was governor of ...he was a governor, right? He never seems to mention it...

Santorum can go back to Fox News where I'll never hear his petulant Christianist bullshit again, and Newt can go back to the 90's where he belongs, and Ron Paul can retire and will his contact list to Rand ensuring that I will be getting phone calls and junk mail for the next 30 years at least.

Mitt will go and lose to Obama, and the right will lose its collective shit (and hey, I know how it's going to feel: I was right there on November 2, 2004 with a bottle of Jameson's in the spare bedroom not believing what I was seeing) and at some point someone will say we would have beaten that guy if we'd just nominated a Real Conservative, and in 18 months we can start this circus all over again, but louder and crazier. I can't wait.

My first niece will be born sometime in July, and despite all of this I have hope for her. Mostly because she'll be Canadian.

pamela, you ignorant slut

A 30-year-old poses as a 23-year-old, chooses a Catholic University to attend at $65,000 per year, and cannot afford ALL the birth control pills she needs... so she wants the US taxpayers to pay for her rampant sexual activity. By all accounts she is banging it five times a day. She sounds more like a prostitute to me. She must have an gyno bill to choke a horse (pun intended). Calling this whore a slut was a softball.

--Pamela Geller, losing her fucking mind

Look, I don't expect anyone who identifies as a conservative to answer for the most chronically unhinged among themselves (a distinction in which Geller really has few peers), and I know some people just really don't think they should have to pay for contraception for a variety of moral/philosophical/political reasons, some of which I am even vaguely sympathetic with.

But if you're going to go all-out  ad hominem on someone like this you should at least make an attempt to get your facts straight. If you are using them properly, you take just as many birth control pills if you have sex once a month (or hell, once a year) as you would if you were "banging it five times a day". (Which naturally means you really should have as much sex as possible in order to maximize the marginal utility of each pill. But I digress.)

I operate on the quaint notion that woman is defined by a great deal more than how and whether she chooses to make use of her uterus. I guess that makes me a feminist. I hope that makes it easier for you to ignore what I have to say next, if need be. Wouldn't want anyone to lose sleep over this.

I'm honestly perplexed by the fact that otherwise decent people (by which I mean conservatives who don't make their living spewing venom for venom's sake, i.e., most of them) seem so willing to pile on a woman about whom they know nothing of substance for having the temerity to testify before Congress about a policy she would like to have changed. To slut-shame, to call her a liar, and to line it all with pious talk about "protecting womanhood", whatever the fuck that means. I really don't know what they are seeking to accomplish, other than to enjoy some good old-fashioned self-congratulation about how righteous they are, and how they won't let basic civility get in the way of the all-important goal of undermining political correctness.

There's being politically incorrect. And then there's just being a raging asshole. And they really aren't that hard to tell apart.

Seriously. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves, here.


something's rotten at cato

That’s the essential difference between an analyst and an activist: I can promise readers that what appears under my name—whether I get it right or wrong—represents my sincere best effort to figure out what would be good policy, not an attempt to supply a political actor with a talking point.  If I couldn’t make that promise, I’d have no right to expect people to take my work seriously.

--Julian Sanchez, in his "presignation letter" to the Cato Institute. 

I don't spend a lot of time paying close attention to the goings-on in policy wonk land these days, but I do know have known over the years people who touch on that world in various ways, including those that have received support from the Koch brothers for various academic and scholarly endeavors.

I have also generally dismissed blind criticism of the Kochs as being, well, kind of weak. All kinds of rich people spend all kinds of money in all sorts of ways to advance policies with which they agree. And it should come as no surprise that such benefactors would generally tend to benefit in some sort of material way from the policies they advocate, should they come to pass. Beyond that, I agree with what Mr. Sanchez notes elsewhere in his letter, that "of all the ways wealthy people use money to influence politics, openly sponsoring ideological advocacy seems by far the least pernicious."

But what the Kochs seem to be trying to pull at Cato right now stinks. I won't try to re-hash it; you can read the details at the links and decide for yourself. If the Kochs succeed in packing the board with people loyal to them, rather than to an honest analysis of policy (albeit analysis from a particular point of view), then one of the truly great American think tanks will become just another tool of a political party.

In other words, Cato will actually become the thing that its more hysterical critics have claimed it was all along. And that would be a shame, indeed.

UPDATE: Another unhappy wonk at Cato puts it even more succinctly

"Just because we support legalized prostitution doesn't mean we want to live it."


my life as a republican, part 1

Even as I walked up the steps of Roosevelt High School this morning, it was clear that the Republican caucus was not going to be exactly what I expected. I walked through the door with a guy, probably in his early 20's, who looked like Johnny Rotten (30 years ago) had decided to go undercover as a Mormon missionary. (White button-up short sleeved shirt, black tie, black trousers, glasses, combat boots, and an 8-inch mohawk.)

I fully expected to be the only person from my Capitol Hill precinct to attend today's caucus. On this point, I was correct. But no small number of people from the neighborhood had the same idea. Mostly guys, mostly in their 20s.

And they were all there to vote for Ron Paul. This is in addition to all the people that were allegedly there to get themselves elected as stealth delegates for Dr. Paul.

The caucus at Roosevelt was a pooled caucus, meaning that all the precinct caucuses of the 43rd legislative district were being held in the same place. This totaled a few hundred people. I'd say the signs, buttons, and T-shirts for Paul outnumbered everyone else by a factor of 3. About a half dozen of the aforementioned 20-somethings were sitting behind me in the bleachers (we met in the school's gym). They all worked for either Microsoft or Amazon, based on their conversation. When someone raised a question about the rule for electing delegates--specifically, since the requirement for election was 50% of the precinct attendees plus one, what was to be done in the event of a two-person precinct in which neither attendee agreed to vote for the other--one of them remarked, "well, you can tell that guy is a programmer."

The other order of business before the entire group was whether we wanted to hear from representatives of the four presidential candidates before we began the actual caucuses. They took a vote by hands, and it was split nearly in half. They then took a voice vote. I think more people said "yea", but everyone who said "no" said it really loudly. Finally, someone moved that the pooled portion of the caucus be adjourned immediately. The motion carried unanimously, and our precinct caucuses began.

First order of business was to elect a chair for the precinct. I won in a landslide. It then fell to me to preside over the election of our two delegates to the state convention. After opening the floor to nominations, I nominated myself. Hearing no other nominations, I called a vote. I was elected unanimously. I opened the floor for nominations to the second delegate slot. None were given. Ditto for our alternates. I will have to make sure that I stay healthy.

The next order of business was to tally votes in the presidential straw poll. Ron Paul carried our precinct with 100% of the vote. I counted twice, just to be sure.

Finally, there was a questionnaire regarding the priorities of the Republican Party in Washington State and nationally. Our precinct reached a consensus in favor of marriage equality, school vouchers, light rail and universal health care, and against eminent domain abuse. We are very progressive Republicans in the 43rd.

Given that the party insiders running this thing are clearly unhappy about the fact that young independents were swamping the caucus for Paul, I have to give them credit for keeping things civil. There were certainly some bemused looks on the faces of older Republicans as they interacted with their younger fellow caucus-goers. But nobody was confrontational about it, at least as far as I saw. It may have been a Republican event, but it's still Seattle, after all.

The King County Republican Convention will be held on April 28, "somewhere in the Bellevue area". I have a distinct feeling the contingent from our side of the lake will be made to feel somewhat less welcome at that stage, but we shall see.


paul constant goes to a mitt romney rally...

...so you don't have to.

I've been to every rally held by every major Republican presidential candidate in the greater Seattle area this month. And I didn't attend these rallies in the cushy press boxes, safely back from the candidates, with a great view and perfect sound. I attended these rallies the way everyone does, among the supporters, in the thick of it, and I can tell you that I hate the Romney crowd worse than all the others...

Everyone in line believed they were too special to be standing in line. They complained that volunteers got to get in first, when they personally knew Washington Republican Party Chair Kirby Wilbur. They grumbled about having to stand outside, and how organizers would be hearing from them. They sent their spouses out to scour the line ahead, to see if there were friends who would help them cut in for a better position. The self-entitlement was thick, is what I'm saying. There were so many centers of the universe in line that the entire galaxy should have collapsed in on Bellevue under the strain.

He ends with an anecdote that is so perfect, it strains credulity. But an entertaining read, in any case. 


a gray market is just a black market with lobbyists, cont'd

If anyone is still interested in the ongoing discussion over the per se DUI provisions in Initiative 502 (kindly linked to by Mr. D), I've been slugging it out in the name of good science over on Slog, here, here, and most recently, here, under the handle "bleedingheartlibertarian".

I've set aside the rent-seeking argument there (others are making it just fine) and focused on the fact that 502's opponents are misunderstanding and/or misrepresenting the science. I won't repeat myself here (I already have wasted too much of my time on this) but just thought I'd make this available to anyone interested.