Jacob Sullum on Religious Objections to Obamacare’s Contraceptive Mandate

For many Americans,
says Senior Editor Jacob Sullum, religion is something you do on
weekends and holidays. For others, it is the central organizing
principle of life. That split, Sullum argues, helps explain the
dispute over Obamacare’s requirement that businesses pay for their
employees’ contraceptives, which is the focus of two cases the
Supreme Court agreed to hear last week.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/jacob-sullum-on-religious-objections-to

Brickbat: I Don't Want to Cause No Fuss

Rochester, New
York, police arrested three high school baskteball players
for waiting
for a school bus
. The team was waiting on the sidewalk for the
bus to take them to a scrimmage. An officer accused them of
blocking foot traffic and ordered them to disperse. When some of
them tried to explain they were just waiting for a bus that should
arrive shortly he arrested them for disorderly conduct. Their coach
arrived as they were being handcuffed, and when he asked they be
released, cops threatened to arrest him, too.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/brickbat-i-dont-want-to-cause-no-fuss

Brickbat: I Don’t Want to Cause No Fuss

Rochester, New
York, police arrested three high school baskteball players
for waiting
for a school bus
. The team was waiting on the sidewalk for the
bus to take them to a scrimmage. An officer accused them of
blocking foot traffic and ordered them to disperse. When some of
them tried to explain they were just waiting for a bus that should
arrive shortly he arrested them for disorderly conduct. Their coach
arrived as they were being handcuffed, and when he asked they be
released, cops threatened to arrest him, too.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/04/brickbat-i-dont-want-to-cause-no-fuss

NORAD Adds Santa’s Fighter Jet Escort to Tracking Animation

the grinch stole your alt textNORAD, the US (and Canadian) air defense command
for North America, has been “tracking” Santa Claus since the 1950s,
and this year, for the first time, it’s going to
include fighter jets
in the animation video (still pictured
right) it produces of Santa’s flight. The move has some children’s
advocates claiming the military is trying to covertly advertise to
children through the Santa program.
Via the Boston Globe

 “Children associate Santa with gifts and fun and
everything else that is positive about Christmas,” said Allen
Kanner, a California child and family psychologist and cofounder of
the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. “They
are associating this with the military in children’s minds. It is
completely out of line.”

…Some worry that American youth are already sufficiently
indoctrinated by the military — and wonder why the Department of
Defense would deem it necessary to target little kids who still
believe in Santa Claus.

“I think people are quite aware of the military’s true mission,”
said Amy Hagopian, a professor of public health at the University
of Washington, who has written extensively about military
recruiting of youngsters. “If the military
wants to keep its ranks stocked, it needs to appeal to children.
The military knows it can’t appeal to adults to volunteer. It is
like the ad industry.’’

Though the inclusion of fighter jets in the actual animation of
Santa Calus is new, a spokesperson
pointed out
to Reuters that NORAD’s Santa-related activities
have linked fighter jets to the imaginary character’s make-believe
flights since the 60s. The Santa tracking program
began in 1955
, when a Sears ad accidentally listed NORAD’s
predecessor’s phone number in a campaign to call Santa, and is
reportedly funded entirely through corporate sponsorships, at no
taxpayer expense.

You can watch a NORAD video explaining the program here and the video
featuring the fighter jets below:


from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/norad-adds-santas-fighter-jet-escort-to

Imagine How Much Preet Bharara Could Accomplish If He Had Even Fewer Resources

In comments to
the New York County Lawyers’ Association yesterday, U.S. Attorney
Preet Bharara complained about sequestration’s impact on his
office, which handles federal prosecutions in the Southern District
of New York:

A prolonged hiring freeze and continuing budget cuts could
ultimately work irrevocable harm to the fundamental mission of my

Unless something changes, our office will simply get smaller and
smaller every year….

If the blanket cuts continue, we will be forced, in the not too
distant future, to make supremely difficult choices…

Something has to give.

Sounds like good news to me, since Bharara’s understanding of
his mission includes pernicious uses of taxpayer money such as
prosecuting people for helping
New Yorkers play poker online
, for connecting
drug suppliers with consumers
, and even for passing
out pamphlets about jury nullification
. If anything, Bharara’s
office would benefit from the prioritization that budget cuts
require. Even in the speech where he whines about not having enough
money to protect the public, he brags about “shut[ting] down a
major on-line currency service used by criminals [Liberty
, presumaby] and the world’s largest underground website
for drugs and contraband [i.e.,
Silk Road
].” A look at Bharara’s recent
press releases
 reinforces the impression that
sequestration so far has left him plenty of resources to prosecute
people for things that should not be crimes:

Former Branch Manager At Manhattan Bank Pleads Guilty In Manhattan
Federal Court To Assisting Leader Of International Sportsbook With
Structuring Financial Transactions

Demolition Company Operators Found Guilty In Manhattan Federal
Court Of Scheme To Underpay Employees In Violation Of Federal
Prevailing Wage Law

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrests Of Five Defendants For
Conspiring To Import 100 Kilograms Of North Korean Methamphetamine
Into The United States

Two More Defendants Plead Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court In
Connection With Russian-American Organized Crime Gambling

Defendant Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Being An
Organizer And Leader Of An Illegal Sports Gambling

Court Authorizes IRS To Issue Summonses For Records Relating To U.S
Taxpayers With Offshore Bank Accounts

Equity Research Analyst Pleads GuiltyIn Manhattan Federal Court To
Insider Trading Charges

SAC Capital Management Companies Plead Guilty To Insider Trading
Charges In Manhattan Federal Court

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Civil Action Seeking Forfeiture
Of Four Bank Accounts And 47 Cars Tied To Auto Export

Eleven Members Of Yonkers Gang Charged In White Plains Federal
Court With Narcotics Trafficking And Firearms Offenses

Co-Founder Of Liberty Reserve Pleads Guilty To Money Laundering In
Manhattan Federal Court

And that’s just November. Bharara says his “fundamental mission”
is “to keep our homeland secure, our streets safe, our markets
fair, and our government honest.” With the possible exception of
“fair” markets, which presumably is how Bharara understands the
goal of criminalizing buying and selling securities based on
forbidden knowledge, one is hard pressed to see evidence of this
mission in these cases. 

“What choices am I supposed to make about which categories of
big cases we can and cannot do?” Bharara asks. How about focusing
on actions that violate people’s rights?

To be fair, Bharara does prosecute real crimes from time to
time. But imagine how much he could accomplish if he had fewer

[Thanks to Nick Sibilla for the tip.]

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/think-how-much-preet-bharara-could-accom

Bill Clinton: There Should Be “Explicit Rules” to Spying on World Leaders

buggers?The NSA may be
bugging Bill Clinton.

From USA Today:

Former President Bill Clinton says he has “serious
reservations” about spying on other world leaders, an issue that
has triggered some global criticism of President Obama.

“I think there ought to be very explicit rules on listening in on
conversations of world leaders,” Clinton said in an interview
on the Fusion network.

Clinton did not talk about what kind of rules, if any, he’d like
to see on surveillance of Americans’ communications, and claimed
the government didn’t have the technical ability to conduct the
surveillance operations during his administration that it does now.
He also pointed out some foreign governments complaining about US
surveillance were doing the same, or gave the US permission to
operate in their countries.

Follow these stories and more at Reason 24/7 and don’t forget you
can e-mail stories to us at 24_7@reason.com and tweet us
at @reason247.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/bill-clinton-there-should-be-explicit-ru

Kennedy, Matt Welch, Kmele Foster to Launch New Nightly Fox Business Show Called The Independents

Declaration! |||As
scooped over at
Reason 24/7
, Fox Business Network has announced a brand
spanking new television show featuring some familiar faces! From
press release

FOX Business Network (FBN) will debut The Independents,
a new primetime program hosted by Lisa Kennedy Montgomery
(Kennedy), on Monday, December 9th announced Kevin Magee,
Executive Vice President of the network.

The program, which will
appear Monday through Wednesday and Friday nights
at 9PM/ET, will feature a roundtable discussion on the news of
the day with a special emphasis on the protection of economic and
civil liberties. Each evening, Kennedy will be joined by her
co-hosts, Reason magazine’s Matt Welch and
America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster, as well as a rotating
panel of experts. FBN’s Stossel, hosted by John Stossel,
will continue to appear at 9PM/ET on Thursdays.

Kennedy joined FBN as a contributor and special correspondent to
Stossel in 2012. She is the author of two books; The Kennedy
Chronicles: The Golden Age of MTV Through Rose-Colored Glasses

and Hey Ladies! Tales and Tips for Curious Girls. She is
also the host of Music in the Morning w/ Kennedy on 98.7FM Los
Angeles Alternative radio and serves as a contributor to

A graduate of University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),
Kennedy holds a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy. She got her start
in television as an MTV video jockey (VJ) in 1992.

See the Reason.com archives for material from Kennedy, Kmele Foster, and
moi. The
three of us will be on Stossel tomorrow night at 9 PM ET
(get used to that time slot!) talking about the show and other

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/kennedy-matt-welch-kmele-foster-to-launc

Reason Foundation Study Details Depths of Green Energy Crony Capitalism

They're connected. By which I mean solar company's owners.The Reason Foundation (the
non-profit that publishes both this site and Reason magazine) has
released a new
today that really explores the terrible decisions made
by the Department of Energy in its green energy loan programs and
subsidies. This is the program that brought America Solyndra (and
several other similar cases that have gotten less attention.) They

A new Reason Foundation study finds 22 out of 26 projects were
rated as “junk” grade investments before they were awarded
taxpayer-backed loans as part of the Department of Energy’s Section
1705 loan program, which was part of the 2009 stimulus bill that
focused on renewable energy, electric power transmission, and
biofuels projects.

The report also highlights taxpayer-backed loans given to
companies with ties to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, former
Vice President Al Gore, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and
a company founded by former Maine Gov. Angus Reid, who is now a
U.S. Senator. According to the Reason Foundation study, the
companies that spent the most on lobbying received the biggest
Section 1705 loans.

“These projects were rated by credit rating agencies as junk
investments with a high likelihood of failure, but the Department
of Energy didn’t seem to care because it was giving loans to the
firms that were well connected or were spending the most on
lobbying,” said Julian Morris, vice president of Reason Foundation
and co-author of the report.

Far from offering loans for all different types of energy
innovation, the lion’s share of the money went entirely to solar
projects. The study takes note of the relationship between the
amount of lobbying the companies reported and the size of the loan
guarantees they received:


Also of note: The completed projects so have far produced less
than 100 permanent jobs. They (and the uncompleted and troubled
products) produce thousands of temporary construction jobs (usually
handed out to connected unions via labor agreements), but they
don’t have to care whether the projects are financially viable once
their work is done.

Read the Reason Foundation’s summary
and the whole report is accessible here

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/reason-foundation-study-details-depths-o

Young People Still Don’t Grasp Obamacare, Venezuela Goes Dark Again, State Department Loves Its Cocktails: P.M. Links

  • "Yeah, you just call that British lizard guy, right? He'll fix you right up."Those young people the
    Affordable Care Act needs in order to properly function
    have no idea
    what the heck it is. Guess those stupid frat boy
    ads aren’t working.
  • An engineer of the train that derailed in New York, killing
    four, reportedly told investigators he was
    falling asleep
    as the train approached a curve at more than
    twice the posted speed.
  • Venezuela has had another
    massive power outage
    , which the president is blaming on
    sabotage and not the nation’s economy collapsing or anything.
  • Intelligence reports suggest North Korea’s
    Kim Jong Un
    has removed an uncle from a top military post and
    executed two close aides for “corruption.”
  • The State Department spent around $400,000 last year on

  • A well-known
    Egyptian blogger was arrested
    in the country’s new crackdown
    against dissent and demonstrations.

Get Reason.com and Reason 24/7
widgets for your

Follow us on Facebook
and Twitter,
and don’t forget to
 for Reason’s daily updates for more

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/young-people-still-dont-grasp-obamacare

Ed Krayewski on Pope Francis’ Condemnation of “Unfettered” Capitalism

frank popeIn the Evangelii Gaudium, the
first apostolic exhortation of his papacy, Pope Francis focused on
the church’s mission of evangelization, urging clergy and the laity
to “recover the original freshness of the Gospel.” In the new
pope’s missionary church, the “doors should always be open,” he
wrote. The 84-page document spanned Catholic topics from social
justice to interfaith dialogue, but Francis’ criticisms of free
markets, hardly new ground for him or for the Catholic
Church, opened the door for supporters of aggressive market
intervention by government to claim the pope as their own. But such
attempts, writes Ed Krayewski, rely on decontextualizing Pope
Francis’ words, which are inexorably intertwined with his religious
worldview, one that would benefit from and be strengthened by an
embrace of free market principles.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/03/ed-krayewski-on-pope-francis-condemnatio