Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Idiotic attempt to restrict photography of new Calder sculpture

This week a new sculpture was installed here at the University of Virginia. It's an ugly, worthless piece, one that I wouldn't even classify as art. Anyone with the ability to cut sheet metal could make this eyesore. I overheard some girls who were talking about it say that this is the same artist who set up the orange gates in Central Park in New York City, as if that project gives this piece any more status. It's a piece by Calder, who died in the 1970s, so I think those girls were misinformed.

I didn't notice this on the display sign the first time I glanced at it yesterday, but upon examining the sign more closely today, I saw that the sign actually tries to prohibit photography of the piece without written permission from the Calder Foundation.

Well, this is totally stupid, unenforceable, and illegal. Remember, UVA is a state school.

For defiance of this idiotic threat, I snapped a photo of both the stupid sign and the ugly, worthless sculpture itself to share with my dear readers. So here's a photo of this piece of garbage, and I did not get written permission from the Caldwell Foundation to take this photo. See, unlike most people who might be deterred by this sign from photographing this large hunk of trash, I know the law. Photography is not a crime when conducted from public property, on the sidewalk, where I was. Bring it on, Calder Foundation.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fate on Hold: Will Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner Charlie Lynch Go to Jail?

Sentencing for Charlie Lynch delayed

The sentencing for Charlie Lynch was delayed. Judge Wu wants to take time to review information from the Justice Department, in light of Attorney General Eric Holder's statement that persons distributing medical marijuana are only to be prosecuted federally if they have demonstrably broken both state law and federal law.

This makes Lynch's situation strange, for a few reasons. In his trial, prosecutors only relied on federal law, which was all they needed to secure a conviction. By Bush's protocol, state law was totally irrelevant. Lynch's attorneys tried as hard as they could to demonstrate that Lynch broke absolutely no state law, but that was irrelevant to any of the charges for which he was actually convicted. It's unclear what information is on the record that demonstrates either how Lynch was totally compliant with state law, or how the prosecution lacked and ignored any evidence of Lynch violating state law. State law was officially irrelevant to both the prosecution and the defense when the trial took place.

Lynch is technically still in the process of being prosecuted, so Wu could read the recent shift in federal policy as grounds to dismiss this case altogether now. He might not do that though, because there doesn't seem to be any actual law that Wu could refer to. Wu may interpret the recent change to apply only to protocol for the DEA to initiate a case, but not to cases that have already commenced. That would seem like an unfair reading, since the prosecution would have had to prove in trial after the DEA raid that that raid was only conducted because of violation of state law. Again, the prosecution never bothered with this because it was irrelevant, and the DEA certainly didn't conduct their raids on Lynch's dispensary or home with state law in mind, because state law was irrelevant.

If Littrell and Cohen provide Wu sufficient documentation that the federal change in policy applies to prosecution at any stage, there's a chance that this whole nightmare for Charlie will be over soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Government or Newspapers

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter. --Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Growth in Facebook group about Charlie Lynch since the Stossel special

There's been a nice amount of growth to the Facebook group since Friday night's 20/20.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Recent Press about Charlie Lynch

Of course you've seen John Stossel's 20/20 special that ran last night, but you may not have caught all the other press about Charlie. Here's what's popped up from my Google alerts.

In case you missed Stossel's segment on Charlie, here it is.

Also, as always, check Friends of CCL.

Beer: An American Revolution

How the microbrew movement gave rise to massive consumer choice

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eyewitness Testimony - 60 Minutes

Watch CBS Videos Online

Watch CBS Videos Online

Prop 8 and democracy

I didn't notice the contradiction before, but it is strange to see how the most liberal opponents of Proposition 8 are the same people who treat democracy as the ultimate be-all and end-all. I would hope that out of this fiasco, more liberals realize that while democracy is a useful check on the problems of monarchy and other authoritarian forms of government, democracy isn't a political end in itself. The real end that would have allowed gay marriage would be the government protection of individual rights, but such protection was obliterated when the decision was left up to the voters of California.

Is the despair and outrage about the actual policy change, or is it from the realization that so many people still hold backward, bigoted beliefs? The polls leading up to the election were close, so the statewide opinion was no surprise. So the outrage was about the change in policy. Since that's the case, liberals should rethink optimal political structures, because this episode of democracy surely did not produce the desired outcomes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Come to a Reason.tv Viewing Party on Friday, March 13!

I'll be at the Reason headquarters on Friday for a great event. Come out if you're in the area. I'm looking forward to what I'm sure will be a great time.

Please join Reason for a special evening of drinks, food, and conversation on Friday, March 13, from 8pm til midnight.

We'll be gathering at our Washington, D.C. headquarters for a viewing party of the new John Stossel 20/20 special "Bailouts, Big Spending, and Bull." Featuring segments on medical marijuana, universal preschool, traffic congestion, immigration, and more, the show was inspired by episodes of Drew Carey's award-winning Reason.tv videos and features an appearance by The Price Is Right host.

Prior to the airing of the special, Reason.tv Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie will lead a fast-paced discussion and audience Q&A on the issues covered in 'Bailouts, Big Spending, and Bull."

The evening's speakers include:

* Rob Kampia, Marijuana Policy Project, on drug policy

* Dana Berliner, Institute for Justice, on eminent domain abuse

* Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus Center, on bailouts and stimulus spending

* Dan Lips, Heritage Foundation, on universal preschool

* Shikha Dalmia, Reason Foundation, on immigration policy

* Shirley Ybarra, Reason Foundation, on traffic congestion and transportation

Doors open at 8pm; program begins at 8.30pm; 20/20 airs at 10pm ET.

Soft and hard drinks and light fare will be served. The event is free and open to the public but space is limited. Please RSVP to events@reason.com.

Reason would like to thank Marijuana Policy Project, the Institute for Justice, Mercatus, The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Golden Door Foundation, and the Lagunitas Brewing Company for their generous help in underwriting this event.

What: Reason.tv viewing party for John Stossel's 20/20 special "Bailouts, Big Spending, and Bull"

When: Friday March 13, 2009, 8pm-midnight

Where: Reason DC HQ, 1747 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC

RSVP: events@reason.com