Freedom of What?

Speech, that is.

Éarendel sprang up from the Ocean’s cup
In the gloom of the mid-world’s rim;
From the door of Night as a ray of light
Leapt over the twilight brim,
And launching his bark like a silver spark
From the golden-fading sand;
Down the sunlit breath of Day’s fiery Death
He sped from Westerland.

—J.R.R. Tolkien, 24 September 1914 (via colonizedbywankers)

On what I've "admitted"


It’s kind of terrifying to watch the spin around this Brown story. Further down you can read the post I made about Scott Brown’s nastygram. In it I said this:

So yes, according to the Senate, Scott Brown isn’t a “lobbyist.” But I submit to anyone else in the world, a former Senator joining a…

“[T]he defense of Tallinn and Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defense of Berlin and Paris and London,” Obama said. “Article 5 is crystal clear. An attack on one is an attack on all. So if, in such a moment, you ever ask again, who’ll come to help, you’ll know the answer: the NATO alliance, including the armed forces of the United States of America, right here, present, now.”

This is the ultimate commitment, given by the ultimate authority, in the very place where the commitment would be tested—and would have to be honored. There’s no turning back from that. Today, for the first time perhaps, Eastern Europeans have reason to believe it. And Vladimir Putin? His depredations have brought about the very result he claimed most to fear: a reanimated NATO rededicated to the defense of all its members, new and old, West and East, backed by the ultimate commitment of the United States.

David Frum for The Atlantic

I hope he’s right, and I also hope Putin will never test this commitment.

Anonymous asked: Re: your "rule about naked people" -- How about people who take nude photos of themselves not be stupid and use storage devices that can be hacked, like cloud storage (or take any risks close to that)? Just HOW much personal responsibility does your generation need to shed before you get it through your thick skulls that it only costs $20 for a decent external hard drive these days? :|


"The lock on your diary wasn’t very good, so it’s your fault I read your diary."

And we’re not going to be debating all these gosh darn proposals. That’s all we do in the Senate is vote on things like raising the minimum wage

Mitch McConnell, everyone. (via think-progress)

Today in American Politics 101: Intro to Looking Like a Jackass


Today’s Pearls before Swine comic is perfect. Check it out in your Sunday newspaper.


Today’s Pearls before Swine comic is perfect. Check it out in your Sunday newspaper.



This oppressive cyberpunk dystopia is nothing like the oppressive cyberpunk dystopian future I was promised.

a year old and still fucking relevant



This oppressive cyberpunk dystopia is nothing like the oppressive cyberpunk dystopian future I was promised.

a year old and still fucking relevant

(via downlo)

andimthedad asked: I've been following the situation in Ferguson as closely as possible. It is shocking. I've been wondering: where are all the anti-government pro-gun-rights people? For years, they've been predicting oppression of citizens through police militarization, and now that it's actually happening, they seem silent. Is this straight-up racism? Is this because it's not the federal government (e.g. Obama) being oppressive? Is this because the police aren't coming after them personally?



I’ve been thinking about what I want to say on this topic all day; it’s been discussed to comedic effect on Facebook and Twitter, amongst the people with whom I share similar feelings about the gun rights insurrectionists.

Obviously, we’ve seen a whole lot of hypocrisy in the silence of those who have seemingly been warning us about the police or the feds or plain old unspecified tyranny. What happened earlier this week in Ferguson should be catnip for these people, but they’ve been oddly subdued. None of the open-carry activists were talking about grabbing their guns and heading to Missouri … not even the ones who live in Missouri.

Of course, open-carry activists are almost exclusively white people because black people know that carrying guns around in public will get them shot to death.

Clearly I don’t want to suggest that the insurrectionists or the open-carry activists are right, that the amassing of private handgun arsenals in order to scare off the police or walking around with guns to show everyone you’ve got ‘em are things that make any kind of sense. It’s not hard to imagine that the situation in Ferguson this week would have been about a million times worse if the protesters had been armed. Considering that this whole thing began with the shooting of an unarmed black kid, a whole bunch of armed black people facing the militarized St. Louis area police would have been a disaster of epic proportions.

A whole bunch of armed white people? Well, my friend Kim Yi Dionne happens to have a piece up at the Monkey Cage that addresses precisely this question using political science research:

Political scientists Christian Davenport and David Armstrong along with colleague Sarah Soule studied how the race of protesters affect how police respond to protest events in their paper, “Protesting While Black? The Differential Policing of American Activism, 1960 to 1990” (see ungated version here). In their research of more than 15,000 protest events that took place in the United States between 1960 and 1990, they find that:

… when compared with other groups, African American protesters are more likely to draw police presence and that once police are present they are more likely to make arrests, use force and violence, and use force and violence in combination with arrests at African American protest events.

So maybe those armed insurrectionists would have been just fine if they’d turned up in Ferguson this week. The police might have spoken with them and attempted to calm the whole situation down rather than escalating things by attempting to intimidate and silence them. And that would have thrown a whole wrench in their theory about government tyranny.

Which, by the way, if you’ve been following this story for the past few days, you’ll have recognized that mostly this is a story about racism and bad policing (as in incompetent) rather than a story about bad policing (as in tyranny over all Americans).

Politicalprof: Ari’s last point is extremely important. Ferguson (like Waco and the Branch Davidians, and Randy Weaver in Idaho, and countless other examples) was an example of quite terrible police responses to social crises. The subsequent state highway patrol response, like countless other examples, stands as an example of quite good police responses to social crises.

Leadership and choices matter. It’s not all because of any one thing.