Tonight on The Independents: Judge Napolitano, Rep. Thomas Massie, Shikha Dalmia, TV’s Andy Levy, and the Return of Two Minutes Hate!

Wednesday night episodes of The
Independents
, as a
perusal
through the Reason
archives
will
attest
, tend to be chock full of
libertarian red meat
. Tonight is no different.

Batting leadoff, playing natural-rights field (ducks),
is Fox News
Senior Judicial Analyst
and Reason.com
columnist
Andrew Napolitano, who will talk about 1) CVS’
decision to stop selling cigarettes, and whether that’s an example
of a
private business living life by its own lights
, or an example
of a
lobbying heavyweight
working the borderline between P.R. and
corporatism; 2) the move by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to

make Attorney General Eric Holder disclose
the administration’s
legal rationales for Barack Obama’s once and future executive
orders; and 3) an outrageous Circuit Court decision allowing the
city of Orlando to
eminent domain a church
(!) and give it to a Major League
Soccer franchise (!!!!).

In the two-hole come TV’s
Andy Levy
of Red Eye fame plus
Conservative Black
Chick
Crystal
Wright
, who will discuss the latest developments and
pharmacological hysteria
over the heroin overdose of Philip
Seymour Hoffman, and also the news that New York Mayor Bill de
Blasio is creating
new school days off
in honor of Muslim and Asian holidays. The
third hitter, fittingly, is Liberty Movement superstar
Rep. Thomas Massie
(R-Kentucky), who will talk about 1) the
latest Edward Snowden/Glenn Greenwald
nonsense
emanating from House Intelligence Committee Chairman
Mike Rogers (R-Wisc.); 2) the latest
promising developments
in the fight to roll back mandatory
minimums for drug sentencing; 3) whether he’s ready to go full
legalization; and 4) his weird & wonderful off-the-grid farm. (Speaking
of the latter, that’s the theme of Friday’s show, which will
discuss Bitcoin, preppers, sovereign cities, and all kinds of
wonderful don’t-track-me-bro arcana.)

Beloved Reason Foundation Senior Analyst
Shikha Dalmia comes on to talk about the latest in
immigration-reform politics
, and whether Roger L. Simon’s

modest proposal
to withhold voting privileges for amnestied
illegal immigrants is a clever way to depoliticize the issue. There
will also be discussion of the latest awful farm bill,
the
latest idiot e-cigarette ban
, the proposed upcoming boxing
match between
George Zimmerman and the rapper DMX
, and the school that

wants to ban the advertisement for banning guns at school

because it shows a gun, at school.

And to put a cherry on that sundae, there will be a second
installment of Two Minutes Hate, a reading of your worst viewer
mail. Send your tweeted appreciations out to @IndependentsFBN!

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Will the Sochi Olympics Be a Massive Shitstorm? Possibly a Literal One?

We prefer the word "intimate" rather than "gross."The Washington Post is
getting lots of page views and shares of a piece they put together
yesterday afternoon aggregating reporters arriving to cover the
Sochi Olympics only to discover their quarters are
not exactly ready
.

What starts as a list of simple, not unusual problems for venues
just finishing up – rooms not ready, fallen curtains, et cetera –
quickly descends into a hilarious parade of horribles – no
electricity, no water, no doors, no heat, no lobby, no
floor
. The
most expensive Olympics in history
, ladies and gentlemen!

Over at
Grantland
, Katie Baker reports on the scene on some of her own
experiences, as well as stories that she’s heard:

I had yet to eat my breakfast this morning when someone regaled
me with a story about a guy staying up in Sochi’s mountaintop media
hotel cluster who turned on his faucet and watched as sewage
spilled out. Last night, a colleague returned to her room after a
long day of work to find the door swung open, a set of keys still
dangling from the lock. Nothing was stolen, but a TV had finally
been installed. It could have been worse: The door to one guy’s
room was supposedly kicked down by workers trying to put in a cable
box.

The tales from the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics go on and
on: hotel reservations vanishing, shower rods and curtains nowhere
to be found, workers heaving small decorative palm trees off the
back of a moving truck and onto the side of the road like paperboys
on bicycles.

I arrived at my hotel at the same time as a friendly journalist
from Montreal, and when we got to our adjacent rooms (both
supposedly temporary until our real rooms are ready), his door
handle broke off in his hand. His first souvenir! My bathroom has
red Sharpie marks delineating where additional construction should
have gone, an unidentified device was attached high up on the wall
with masking tape, and there was no caulking. But my hot water
works, my pillow is fantastic, and I have lightbulbs, which places
me in the top percentile of accommodation privilege. Stacy
St. Clair had no water in her room
and was told by a
receptionist to avoid it even if restored: “Do not use on your face
because it contains something very dangerous.” (A quick side note
on the sphinxlike front desk clerks, by the way: I am legitimately
infatuated with their unparalleled ability to deliver bad
news.)

Baker, though, suspects that once the games actually begin, much
of the complaints from journalists will die down as they focus on
the actual games. She says the actual venues are beautiful (did she
check to make sure they had floors?) and the mood there is festive.
We’ll just have to wait to see if the opening ceremonies are
interrupted by a
power outage
or if those wacky double-toilets start spewing out
geysers of waste.

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Teh Internet is Full of Cool Things: Author! Author! Edition


Hit and Run habitue and recidivist commenter
Alan Vanneman has a book out that sounds pretty interesting to this
old literature grad student (I even bought the Kindle edition
earlier today). Here’s the Amazon description: 

Author! Author! contains two short stories and a novella, with
famous authors as the leading characters. In “The Transfiguration
of W. H. Auden,” the great poet dies and goes, not to heaven, but
someplace better. Victorian England! In “The Man Who Met Joyce
Carol Oates,” an admirer discovers that encountering genius is not
without peril. In “The Apotheosis of John Updike,” the poet of
suburbia encounters catharses without number west of the
Hudson.


More here.

Vanneman’s blog, which includes links to his excellent film
essays at Bright Lights, is
here.

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Two Cheers for CVS’s Decision to Stop Selling Cigarettes

So
the drugstore chain CVS is giving up on smokes. As Reason 24/7 reported earlier
today:

CVS Caremark pharmacies will phase out tobacco in U.S. retail
stores by Oct. 1, officials announced Wednesday, saying that
selling cigarettes side-by-side with medicine undermines the
mission of promoting good health.

The chain will lose about $2 billion in revenues annually from
sales of tobacco in its 7,600 stores, but CVS Pharmacy president
Helena Foulkes said it just makes sense for a firm now positioning
itself as a health care company. 

The company’s president Helena Foulkes explains:

“It was very important to us that, as we’re working with doctors
and hospital systems and health plans, that they see us as an
extension of their services,” Foulkes said. “It’s virtually
impossible to be in the tobacco business when you want to be a
health care partner to the health care system.”


Read more here.


I think it’s great whenever
a business takes steps to implement its vision of social
purpose. For sure, there are real questions about just
how health-conscious CVS really is. “Good,” explains a fake
interviewee in

The Onion
. “I don’t want cigarettes sold in the same
place I get my flu shot, Red Bull, and mini-donuts.”

The freedom to sell what you want – or not – is a marvelous
thing and should be applauded whenever it’s exercised. I have no
idea whether it’s a good idea from a stockholder point of view, or
even from a customer point of view. I only hope that right-wingers
and left-wingers recognize that choice – for the business owner,
the customer, the employee – is key. We should all be allowed to do
more things than the government currently allows. And to bear the
costs of those decisions, including negative (or positive) feedback
about those choices. Restaurants should be allowed to permit
smoking if they want, for instance, or ban it. Photographers should
be allowed
to decline offers
to cover marriages of which they don’t
approve. Homeowner associations should be allowed to enforce all
sorts of stupid rules and townfolk should be allowed to grow
front-yard gardens
on their own damn property
.

The point is that we should let people make more decisions about
their lives, their loves, and their businesses. And live with their
consequences.

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Two Cheers for CVS's Decision to Stop Selling Cigarettes

So
the drugstore chain CVS is giving up on smokes. As Reason 24/7 reported earlier
today:

CVS Caremark pharmacies will phase out tobacco in U.S. retail
stores by Oct. 1, officials announced Wednesday, saying that
selling cigarettes side-by-side with medicine undermines the
mission of promoting good health.

The chain will lose about $2 billion in revenues annually from
sales of tobacco in its 7,600 stores, but CVS Pharmacy president
Helena Foulkes said it just makes sense for a firm now positioning
itself as a health care company. 

The company’s president Helena Foulkes explains:

“It was very important to us that, as we’re working with doctors
and hospital systems and health plans, that they see us as an
extension of their services,” Foulkes said. “It’s virtually
impossible to be in the tobacco business when you want to be a
health care partner to the health care system.”


Read more here.


I think it’s great whenever
a business takes steps to implement its vision of social
purpose. For sure, there are real questions about just
how health-conscious CVS really is. “Good,” explains a fake
interviewee in

The Onion
. “I don’t want cigarettes sold in the same
place I get my flu shot, Red Bull, and mini-donuts.”

The freedom to sell what you want – or not – is a marvelous
thing and should be applauded whenever it’s exercised. I have no
idea whether it’s a good idea from a stockholder point of view, or
even from a customer point of view. I only hope that right-wingers
and left-wingers recognize that choice – for the business owner,
the customer, the employee – is key. We should all be allowed to do
more things than the government currently allows. And to bear the
costs of those decisions, including negative (or positive) feedback
about those choices. Restaurants should be allowed to permit
smoking if they want, for instance, or ban it. Photographers should
be allowed
to decline offers
to cover marriages of which they don’t
approve. Homeowner associations should be allowed to enforce all
sorts of stupid rules and townfolk should be allowed to grow
front-yard gardens
on their own damn property
.

The point is that we should let people make more decisions about
their lives, their loves, and their businesses. And live with their
consequences.

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Iowa Cops: If We Know You Have a Registered Gun, That’s a Good Reason to Invade Your Home Like an Army (Even If You Aren’t Who We Are Looking For)

Radley Balko at the Washington Post with a
disturbing followup
to the story about another superviolent
police raid over a non violent crime,
blogged about here yesterday
by Ed Krayewski.

Why did the cops feel necessary pursuing a credit card fraud
suspect to coming in like an invading army? Because they knew
someone in the house had a registered gun, the police said.

That’s pretty scary, Balko points out:

citing the fact that one of the occupants in the house — Justin
Ross — had applied and was approved for a gun permit  is
probably most disturbing of all. First, hardened criminals who
are a threat to kill cops tend not to be the sort of people who
bother with permits, or to register their firearms with the
government….

Second, Ross was not one of the suspects for whom the police
were looking. It seems highly, highly unlikely that had the police
knocked on the door, announced themselves and waited for someone to
answer it, a law-abiding citizen like Justin Ross would be a threat
to suddenly decide to kill some cops. But
it’s much more likely that Justin Ross might
feel the need to defend himself upon hearing unidentified parties
break down two doors, followed by the sight of several armed men in
his home. Indeed, that’s very nearly what happened.

Finally, think of the implications if this were the policy
everywhere. It would mean that if you’re a gun owner, the police
could cite that fact in and of itself as justification for them to
violently tear down your door, rush your house with guns and point
those guns at your family — even if their warrant is for a
nonviolent crime, even if it’s for a white collar crime, even if
you’ve dutifully registered your gun with the government. In fact,
given that Ross’s permit is how the police knew he was armed in the
first place, especially if you’ve dutifully
registered your guns with the government. If I were a gun owner in
Des Moines, I’d be asking some questions.

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Iowa Cops: If We Know You Have a Registered Gun, That's a Good Reason to Invade Your Home Like an Army (Even If You Aren't Who We Are Looking For)

Radley Balko at the Washington Post with a
disturbing followup
to the story about another superviolent
police raid over a non violent crime,
blogged about here yesterday
by Ed Krayewski.

Why did the cops feel necessary pursuing a credit card fraud
suspect to coming in like an invading army? Because they knew
someone in the house had a registered gun, the police said.

That’s pretty scary, Balko points out:

citing the fact that one of the occupants in the house — Justin
Ross — had applied and was approved for a gun permit  is
probably most disturbing of all. First, hardened criminals who
are a threat to kill cops tend not to be the sort of people who
bother with permits, or to register their firearms with the
government….

Second, Ross was not one of the suspects for whom the police
were looking. It seems highly, highly unlikely that had the police
knocked on the door, announced themselves and waited for someone to
answer it, a law-abiding citizen like Justin Ross would be a threat
to suddenly decide to kill some cops. But
it’s much more likely that Justin Ross might
feel the need to defend himself upon hearing unidentified parties
break down two doors, followed by the sight of several armed men in
his home. Indeed, that’s very nearly what happened.

Finally, think of the implications if this were the policy
everywhere. It would mean that if you’re a gun owner, the police
could cite that fact in and of itself as justification for them to
violently tear down your door, rush your house with guns and point
those guns at your family — even if their warrant is for a
nonviolent crime, even if it’s for a white collar crime, even if
you’ve dutifully registered your gun with the government. In fact,
given that Ross’s permit is how the police knew he was armed in the
first place, especially if you’ve dutifully
registered your guns with the government. If I were a gun owner in
Des Moines, I’d be asking some questions.

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Obamacare Subsidies Create Disincentives for Work, IRS Commissioner Wants to Move On From Tea Party Scandal, Elizabeth Hurley Denies Affair With Bill Clitnon: P.M. Links

  • the 90s!Obamacare subsidies
    create
    disincentives for work, the director of the CBO told
    Congress, backing a key argument made by Republicans against the
    law.
  • The new IRS commissioner, meanwhile, told Congress he
    wants
    the investigation into the agency’s  targeting of
    conservative groups to be over so that it can move on.
  • A UN report on child abuse within the Catholic Church called
    on the Vatican to surrender to authorities anyone suspected of
    pedophilia as well as documents about any coverups. The Vatican

    characterized
    the report as distorted, unfair, and
    ideologically biased, pointing out that it criticized Church
    teachings on homosexuality, abortion, and contraceptives.
  • Public schools in New York City will move forward
    on closingfor
    Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and the Lunar New Year, but Mayor De
    Blasio said he hadn’t made a decision on Diwali yet.
  • Elizabeth Hurley
    denied
    tabloid reports she had an affair with Bill Clinton in
    the 90s.
  • American snowboarder Shauwn White
    won’t
    be competing in the slopestyle at the Olympics. He’d
    previously called the course “intimidating.”

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Brian Doherty on Students Suing Over Bad Teachers in California

If you or I are
doing a bad job, we can generally be fired. Certain procedures
might have to be followed; a cause might have to be proved. But
most of us work with the incentive that if we do a bad enough job,
we’ll be let go.

It’s different for public school teachers in California (and for
many teachers elsewhere). If they can manage to not utterly
disgrace themselves in the first year and a half of working, they
get locked in to “permanent employment” status. Then the process of
trying to firing them is so annoying, expensive, and time consuming
that their bosses often don’t bother. And when teachers have to be
laid off for financial reasons, “last in, first out” (LIFO) rules
for teachers, costing good teachers their jobs in favor of
protecting seniority.

Do those problems with quality and expense constitute a
violation of California students’ constitutional rights to an
education? Court proceedings in California Superior Court in Los
Angeles County may settle that question. Brian Doherty explores the
details of the case.

View this article.

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