Brickbat: Phil Robertson Understands

Zachary Golob-Drake won first place in a
speech contest at his elementary school in Tampa, Florida, and as
the winner, he was slated to deliver the speech to all the fourth-
and fifth-graders at the school and compete in a regional speech
contest. But an administrator told him there was a problem with the
speech, which focused on how religion has sparked conflict and even
mass murder. She said the religious
references
 had to come out before he could speak to the
assembly. When Golob-Drake said he wanted to think about it, she
threatened to take his first-place ribbon away and not allow him to
compete in the regional contest. School officials say Golob-Drake
misunderstood, it wasn’t the religion they wanted him to take out
but the parts about mass murder.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/25/brickbat-phil-robertson-understands
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J.D. Tuccille Says, Leave Room For the Mountain Men

Forest2003
marked the tenth anniversary of the death of Bryan Clements. His
obituary in the Arizona Daily Sun attributed his passing
to “complications following brain surgery,” though the reality of
his end was rather weirder and more interesting than that suggests.
So was his life. Bryan was a part-time mountain man, and a model
for some of the attributes of Rollo, a main character in the novel,
High Desert Barbecue. He mattered not just because he made
the world a stranger and better place, writes J.D. Tuccille, but
also because the room for his existence is an underappreciated
feature of what can be an all-too stifling and rule-bound
world.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/jd-tuccille-says-leave-room-for-the-moun
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Remy: All I Want for Christmas is U …

…nilateral printing of billions of dollars to be stopped.

The value of Remy’s soon-tob-be Christmas classic can only be
determined after adjusting for inflation.

Written and performed by Remy. Produced by Meredith Bragg.

Follow Remy on Twitter,
Facebook,
and YouTube.


Production details, lyrics, and more here
.

More Remy and Reason TV videos here.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/remy-all-i-want-for-christmas-is-u
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First Colorado Pot Shops Open Next Week

Yesterday the Colorado Department of Revenue

mailed
its first batch of licenses to businesses that plan to
produce, test, and sell marijuana products for general use. The
licensees include 136 retailers, all of which currently operate
medical marijuana centers (the only businesses allowed to apply for
a license at this point); 178 cultivation sites, most of them
linked to pot shops (which initially have to grow at least 70
percent of their inventory); 31 manufacturers of marijuana-infused
products; and three testing facilities. The state
seems
to have approved every application it has received so
far. The stores are allowed to open as soon as January 1 (a week
from tomorrow), provided they have received approval from the local
jurisdictions in which they operate.

The
first pot store
to receive a local license was Annie’s in
Central City, part of the Strainwise chain, so it
will be among the stores authorized to open on New Year’s Day. The
Colorado Springs Gazette reports that
Michael Stetler, owner of Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo, also
expects to have a local license by then. The Gazette
says “Stetler has big plans for opening week, anticipating a
rush of patrons from nearby counties and cities that have banned
recreational sales, including Colorado Springs [the state’s second
biggest city] and El Paso County.”

Three-fourths of the pot stores that have been granted state
licenses are located in Denver, Colorado’s capital and largest
city, but it is not clear how many will be locally licensed and
ready to open next week. The Denver Post reports
that only eight Denver pot shops “have so far cleared all the
hurdles in the local licensing process.”

Leaders of the campaign for Amendment 64, Colorado’s
legalization initiative, say the first sale by a newly licensed pot
store will happen at 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day at “a Denver
marijuana retail store that includes an on-site marijuana
cultivation facility.” The specific location has not been announced
yet. The first buyer will be Sean Azzariti, “a U.S. Marine Corps
veteran in Denver who can now legally use marijuana to alleviate
the symptoms of post-traumatic disorder,” a condition that was not
covered by Colorado’s medical marijuana law.

Although Azzariti appeared in an ad for Amendment 64, he is
hardly typical of the new marijuana market, which will be driven by
recreational users. As of next week, anyone 21 or older will be
allowed to buy up to an ounce of marijuana at a time (a quarter of
an ounce for visitors, in case you were wondering). But since
cultivation for recreational use won’t be allowed until January 1,
and it takes about five months to grow a new crop, where will the
pot for these new customers come from? Until next spring, it looks
like the only legal source will be repurposed medical
marijuana.

A medical marijuana center is allowed to grow up to six plants
for each patient who names it as his designated provider. But that
does not mean every patient consumes that much marijuana. Wiggle
room was built into this system, since patients do not have to buy
exclusively from their designated providers and dispensaries may
sell as much as 30 percent of their marijuana to other outlets. Any
dispensary interested in the recreational market has had more than
a year since Amendment 64 was approved to maximize production under
the existing quotas.

Will that be enough? Maybe not. Norton Arbelaez, co-owner of
RiverRock Wellness dispensaries in Denver, told the
Post he does not plan to start serving the
recreational market until February. “There are just so many
questions in terms of pricing, is there going to be scarcity, or
some kind of lack of product in January that is going to lead to
the price of the product doubling or tripling?” he said. “There’s a
lot of unknowns.”

Another Denver dispensary owner, Ralph Morgan, told the
Gazette he and his partner, Tim Cullen, plan to open
next week, assuming they have their local license by then. But they
are not planning to make a big deal out of it. “We’re not inviting
media,” Morgan said. “We’re not blasting things out on social
media….A lot of it has to do with our supply chain, because we’re
mandated to grow 70 percent of what we sell…If our business were
to double we would run out. We would have to close midmonth, and
we’re not unique in that. Everyone is in that same boat.”

If the shops run out or the prices prove prohibitive, there is
another option for those who planned ahead or have friends who did.
Since Amendment 64
took effect
in December. Coloradans have been allowed to grow
up six plants at home and share the produce with others, up to an
ounce at a time, as long they do not make any money from the
hobby.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/first-colorado-pot-shops-open-next-week
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Is Rand Paul and Libertarianism the GOP's Future? Nick Gillespie on Hardball

Last night, I appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with guest
host Michael Smerconish of SiriusXM”s POTUS Channel 124 and
Republican strategist John Feehery. The topic was whether Sen. Rand
Paul (R-Ky.) and libertarianism are the best way forward for the
GOP.

About 7 minutes. Take a look.

And check out Smerconish on Twitter and online here. A lifelong Republican,

he famously left
the GOP in 2010, frustrated that it had become
in his words, “a party of exclusion and litmus tests, dominated on
social issues by the religious right, with zero discernible
outreach by the national party to anyone who doesn’t fit neatly
within its parameters.” Which isn’t to say he’s a Democrat, either.
Instead, Smerconish, whose radio program is genuinely engaging and
conversational in a way that is increasingly rare, arguably
represents the best of the non-allied center of American politics.
I don’t always agree with him, but if you are interested in knowing
what sensible centrists think – and what sorts of issues and
arguments they find compelling – he’s a great resource to turn
to.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/is-rand-paul-and-libertarianism-the-gops
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Is Rand Paul and Libertarianism the GOP’s Future? Nick Gillespie on Hardball

Last night, I appeared on MSNBC’s Hardball with guest
host Michael Smerconish of SiriusXM”s POTUS Channel 124 and
Republican strategist John Feehery. The topic was whether Sen. Rand
Paul (R-Ky.) and libertarianism are the best way forward for the
GOP.

About 7 minutes. Take a look.

And check out Smerconish on Twitter and online here. A lifelong Republican,

he famously left
the GOP in 2010, frustrated that it had become
in his words, “a party of exclusion and litmus tests, dominated on
social issues by the religious right, with zero discernible
outreach by the national party to anyone who doesn’t fit neatly
within its parameters.” Which isn’t to say he’s a Democrat, either.
Instead, Smerconish, whose radio program is genuinely engaging and
conversational in a way that is increasingly rare, arguably
represents the best of the non-allied center of American politics.
I don’t always agree with him, but if you are interested in knowing
what sensible centrists think – and what sorts of issues and
arguments they find compelling – he’s a great resource to turn
to.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/is-rand-paul-and-libertarianism-the-gops
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Gene Healy on Obama's NSA Lie

Smug ObamaIt’s not easy
to pick the year’s most transparent lie from the self-styled “most
transparent administration in history.” There are so many to choose
from—such a richness of embarrassment. For its “Lie of the Year,”
PolitiFact went with President Obama’s “if you like your health
plan, you can keep it”; the Washington Post Fact-Checker put the
same statement at the top of its “biggest Pinocchios of 2013” list.
It’s a choice that has a lot to recommend it, but Obama’s been
singing that refrain since at least 2009. For Gene Healy’s money,
the biggest presidential lie of the year came on June 7, the week
after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden
revealed the agency’s secret collection of call records data on
millions of Americans. “I welcome this debate,” Obama
proclaimed—even as his administration was hunting down the
whistleblower who started it and preparing to hit him with 30 years
of Espionage Act charges.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/gene-healy-on-obamas-nsa-lie
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Gene Healy on Obama’s NSA Lie

Smug ObamaIt’s not easy
to pick the year’s most transparent lie from the self-styled “most
transparent administration in history.” There are so many to choose
from—such a richness of embarrassment. For its “Lie of the Year,”
PolitiFact went with President Obama’s “if you like your health
plan, you can keep it”; the Washington Post Fact-Checker put the
same statement at the top of its “biggest Pinocchios of 2013” list.
It’s a choice that has a lot to recommend it, but Obama’s been
singing that refrain since at least 2009. For Gene Healy’s money,
the biggest presidential lie of the year came on June 7, the week
after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden
revealed the agency’s secret collection of call records data on
millions of Americans. “I welcome this debate,” Obama
proclaimed—even as his administration was hunting down the
whistleblower who started it and preparing to hit him with 30 years
of Espionage Act charges.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/gene-healy-on-obamas-nsa-lie
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"My One-Item Christmas List: A Government That Stops Playing Santa"

I’ve got a
new column up
at Time’s Ideas section. Here’s the opening:

Forget a new car, Beats by Dre, or even affordable health care. You know
what I really, really, really want for Christmas?

I want a government that spends less money. I’m not alone in
such a wish. Even President Obama, who has asked for more and more
spending in each of his annual budget proposals, has called the
nation’s long-term spending patterns “unsustainable.”

We should be cutting small-ticket, medium-ticket, and big-ticket
items, and we can do it in a way that doesn’t kick out Tiny Tim’s
crutches or leaves us open to terrorist attacks. But first we need
to understand the magnitude of the growth in spending over the past
10 years.

In 2003, the federal government shelled out about $2.2 trillion
in nominal dollars. In 2013, it spent about $3.5
trillion
. I have trouble figuring out exactly where that extra
$1.3 trillion a year is going, but I do know that whatever money is
spent by the generous souls in Washington, D.C. isn’t
printed by elves. It comes from current and future taxes that you
and I—or our children and grandchildren—will pay. According to the
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections for the next 25 years,
the government will never come close to matching outlays with
revenues (which CBO already assumes will be significantly higher
than the historical average for the past 40 years).

So the only path to sustainability is to cut spending. But where
to cut?


Please read the whole thing.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/my-one-item-christmas-list-a-government
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“My One-Item Christmas List: A Government That Stops Playing Santa”

I’ve got a
new column up
at Time’s Ideas section. Here’s the opening:

Forget a new car, Beats by Dre, or even affordable health care. You know
what I really, really, really want for Christmas?

I want a government that spends less money. I’m not alone in
such a wish. Even President Obama, who has asked for more and more
spending in each of his annual budget proposals, has called the
nation’s long-term spending patterns “unsustainable.”

We should be cutting small-ticket, medium-ticket, and big-ticket
items, and we can do it in a way that doesn’t kick out Tiny Tim’s
crutches or leaves us open to terrorist attacks. But first we need
to understand the magnitude of the growth in spending over the past
10 years.

In 2003, the federal government shelled out about $2.2 trillion
in nominal dollars. In 2013, it spent about $3.5
trillion
. I have trouble figuring out exactly where that extra
$1.3 trillion a year is going, but I do know that whatever money is
spent by the generous souls in Washington, D.C. isn’t
printed by elves. It comes from current and future taxes that you
and I—or our children and grandchildren—will pay. According to the
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections for the next 25 years,
the government will never come close to matching outlays with
revenues (which CBO already assumes will be significantly higher
than the historical average for the past 40 years).

So the only path to sustainability is to cut spending. But where
to cut?


Please read the whole thing.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/24/my-one-item-christmas-list-a-government
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