Celebrate George Washington's Birthday, Drink Some Whiskey

Though it may not be George
Washington’s actual birthday
, Presidents’ Day is still a good
excuse to raise a glass to our
entrepreneurial first president

“The Spirit of Mount Vernon: The Return of George Washington’s
Whiskey,” was originally released on February 16, 2011. Original
text is below. 

Many know George Washington as a general and statesman,
but few think of America’s first president as a preeminent
entrepreneur, operating the most successful whiskey distillery in
the late 18th century. At its height, Washington’s distillery
produced over 11,000 gallons of liquor a year, supplying the
surrounding area and becoming one of his most lucrative business
ventures.

At Washington’s former plantation, Mount Vernon , a group of
historic interpreters are looking to bring this story to a wider
audience. Thanks to a fully functioning replica of Washington’s
distillery (and special dispensation from the Virginia General
Assembly), George Washington’s rye whiskey is once again being made
and sold to the public.

In November, Reason.tv followed the entire process as
Dave Pickerell, Master Distiller and former Vice President of
Operations for Maker’s Mark, and Steve Bashore, Mount Vernon
Distillery Manager, oversaw a two week production run while
adhering as strictly as possible to 18th century means and methods.
The result is an 80-proof reminder of the nation’s first president
and the entrepreneurial ideals of colonial
America.

Shot, edited and produced by Meredith Bragg. Approx. 6
minutes.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1gvfX9V
via IFTTT

Stanton Peele on Why We Have Drug Scares

CocaineWhy does the drug
scare meme appear so regularly in America? If we accept at face
value that, indeed, so many substances have reared their ugly,
panic-inspiring heads in such regular succession, then it seems we
have never gotten a handle on drugs in America, and we never will,
as drug scares stretch behind and before us ad infinitum. By
embodying these irresolvable social problems and dilemmas in drugs,
we hold out the ever present hope that American medicine will solve
them, most likely using pharmaceuticals. And that, writes Stanton
Peele, is the greatest drug scare of all.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1guMGMA
via IFTTT

Brickbat: Tears on My Pillow

Miramar, Florida,
police closed Pembroke Road and several side streets and locked
down a nearby school for over
two hours
 after someone reported suspicious items on the
side of the street. Cops called in the Broward County sheriff’s
department bomb squad, which determined the objects were a shopping
bag and pillows.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1dZH7kg
via IFTTT

Ethiopian Flight to Italy Hijacked, Lands in Geneva, Request for Asylum Made, Twitter Upset Mainstream Media Not Covering

prior to landingEthiopian Airlines Flight 702 headed from Addis
Ababa to Milan signaled “Squawk 7500,” a radio frequency that
indicates
hijacking
. The plane passed Rome, where it was supposed to
stop, and Milan, where the flight was scheduled to end, eventually
landing in Geneva. @matthewkeyslive posted audio purporting to be
someone on the plane requesting asylum in communications with air
traffic control in Geneva. Jaunted.com reports asylum was
negotiated between Swiss authorities (the ones available before 6am
local time), the pilots, and the hijackers while the plane burned
through its fuel over Lake Geneva. It finally landed at Geneva
around 6am local time, and the airport remains closed with flights
diverted to Zurich.


Twitter spent
the last few hours pointing out social media was
on ET702 news while the mainstream media wasn’t, though it appears,
according to Twitter, to be being picked up by cable news outlets,
including BBC and CNN. It doesn’t yet appear to be on any of the
major US news websites, including CNN.com. Also via Twitter,
a press release from
Ethiopian Airlines claiming passengers and crew were safe was
pulled from its website. The pilots may have exited via the
windows.

The Swiss,
incidentally
, recently voted to restrict the country’s
immigration rules.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1gtDnwj
via IFTTT

Video: Why Teaching How to Beat Polygraphs Can Land You in Jail

“Why Teaching How to Beat Polygraphs Can Land You in
Jail,” produced by Joshua Swain and narrated by Todd Krainin. About
4 minutes. 

Original release date was February 11, 2014 and original writeup
is below.

Last September, Chad
Dixon was sentenced to 8 months in a federal prison
 for
teaching clients counter-measures for polygraph tests. Federal
prosecutors charged Dixon with obstructing justice—they view his
business as undermining an important tool used to check the
credibility of government employees and prosecute
criminals.

The information Dixon was selling wasn’t new. Books on
beating polygraphs
 have been around since the machines
were invented. So why is the federal government cracking down
now?

In an effort to stop the next Edward Snowden, officials are
emphasizing polygraphs’ ability to prevent leaks by keeping
employees honest. The NSA has
recently gone from polygraphing its employees once every five years
to four times a year
.

Relying on polygraphs is extremely risky according to most
scientists. “There is no unique physiological signature that is
associated with lying,” says Steven
Aftergood
 of the Federation of American Scientists.
Polygraphs can only record physiological responses to situations
and, Aftergood explains, you can train yourself to control those
responses: “You can learn to regulate your heartbeat, you can learn
to control your breath, and you can generate spurious
signals.”

Supporters of polygraphs believe that up-to-date machines and
well-trained operators can detect lies, making the counter-measures
Dixon was teaching obsolete. “We’re trained in all those type of
counter-measures,” says Darryl
DeBow
 of the Virginia Polygraph School. “They are so
antiquated, we know when they are doing it.” Yet if the
counter-measures can easily be detected, it throws doubt on the
argument that Dixon was hindering the federal government’s
work.

4 minutes.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1gJEEyX
via IFTTT

Did Florida's 'Stand Your Ground' Law Hang Michael Dunn's Jury?

Last night
Michael Dunn, the middle-aged software designer who got into a

deadly argument
over loud music at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas
station in 2012, was
convicted
 of attempted murder charges for firing a gun at
an SUV in which four teenagers were sitting. But the jury
deadlocked on a murder charge related to the death of 17-year-old
Jordan Davis, the passenger Dunn killed. According to
The New York Times
, the case was “the latest courtroom
test for Florida’s expansive self-defense statutes, including the
so-called Stand Your Ground provision.” But did the outcome of the
trial actually
hinge
on any special feature of Florida’s law, or is this
another case, like the George Zimmerman trial last summer, where
critics of the statute perceive a connection that
does not really exist
?

Without knowing what the holdout juror or jurors was/were
thinking, it is impossible to say for sure. The right to “stand
your ground” when attacked in a public place
did not figure prominently
in the trial, but Dunn’s lawyer,
Cory Strolla, did mention it during his closing argument,
saying
, “His honor will further tell you that if Michael Dunn
was in a public place where he had a legal right to be, he had no
duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet
force with force, including deadly force.” As in the Zimmerman
case, the
jury instruction
concerning justifiable homicide mentioned that
right, and it is more plausible in this case that it made a
difference, since Dunn arguably could have driven away even if, as
he claimed, Davis menaced him with a shotgun. (By contrast,
Zimmerman’s account of the fight that ended in Trayvon Martin’s
death, which was supported by substantial evidence and seems to
have been
accepted
by the jury, precluded the possibility of retreat,
since Zimmerman claimed Martin knocked him to the ground and was on
top of him, smacking his head against the concrete.) Then again,
even states that impose a duty to retreat make an exception when it
cannot be done safely, and driving away from a gunman who has just
threatened to kill you (per Dunn’s account) would be pretty
risky.

About that alleged gun: Police never found it, although Strolla
argued that Davis’ friends had time to ditch it and could have
retrieved it later, before a thorough search of the area was
conducted. The fact that Strolla
said
the purported weapon might have been a “lead pipe” or a
“stick” did not inspire confidence in Dunn’s story, which was
further undermined by the testimony of Strolla’s girlfriend, who
was with him immediately after the shooting and during the
following day. She
said
he never mentioned a shotgun to her. Under Florida’s
self-defense law, the Times claims, Dunn “needed only
to be convinced that he saw a shotgun, whether or not one was
present.” That is not quite right. Dunn had to
reasonably believe
Davis was threatening him with
a shotgun. If his perceptions were colored by irrational
preconceptions concerning the violent propensities of surly black
teenagers listening to “thug” music (as seems plausible), his
belief, even if sincere, was not reasonable. In any case, the fact
that Dunn fled the scene and did not call the police, who located
him the next day via the license plate number seen by a witness,
strongly suggests he did not really believe the shooting was
justified. Furthermore, the fact that Dunn continued to fire on the
SUV as it pulled away is consistent with the prosecution’s theory
that he acted out of anger rather than fear.

Given the fishy elements of Dunn’s story and behavior, it may
seem surprising that the jurors, who had the
options
of second-degree murder and manslaughter as well as
first-degree murder, could not agree that his use of deadly force
against Davis was not justified. But the prosecution had to prove
beyond a reasonable doubt that Dunn was not acting in
self-defense, and if one juror believed it did not meet that test,
that would have been enough to block a verdict. The holdout would
not have to be convinced that Dunn was telling the truth; he would
merely have to think that believing Dunn was reasonable. The
absence of a duty to retreat might have made a
difference in that judgment, but it is not at all clear that it
did.

Prosecutors plan to try Dunn again on the murder charge. Already
he
faces
at least 20 years in prison under Florida’s “10-20-life”
rules for crimes involving guns, and he could receive a sentence as
long as 75 years (a life sentence, effectively) if the judge
decides that the terms for each count should be served
consecutively. Dunn is scheduled to be sentenced the week of March
24. 

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1grPOsx
via IFTTT

Did Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law Hang Michael Dunn’s Jury?

Last night
Michael Dunn, the middle-aged software designer who got into a

deadly argument
over loud music at a Jacksonville, Florida, gas
station in 2012, was
convicted
 of attempted murder charges for firing a gun at
an SUV in which four teenagers were sitting. But the jury
deadlocked on a murder charge related to the death of 17-year-old
Jordan Davis, the passenger Dunn killed. According to
The New York Times
, the case was “the latest courtroom
test for Florida’s expansive self-defense statutes, including the
so-called Stand Your Ground provision.” But did the outcome of the
trial actually
hinge
on any special feature of Florida’s law, or is this
another case, like the George Zimmerman trial last summer, where
critics of the statute perceive a connection that
does not really exist
?

Without knowing what the holdout juror or jurors was/were
thinking, it is impossible to say for sure. The right to “stand
your ground” when attacked in a public place
did not figure prominently
in the trial, but Dunn’s lawyer,
Cory Strolla, did mention it during his closing argument,
saying
, “His honor will further tell you that if Michael Dunn
was in a public place where he had a legal right to be, he had no
duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet
force with force, including deadly force.” As in the Zimmerman
case, the
jury instruction
concerning justifiable homicide mentioned that
right, and it is more plausible in this case that it made a
difference, since Dunn arguably could have driven away even if, as
he claimed, Davis menaced him with a shotgun. (By contrast,
Zimmerman’s account of the fight that ended in Trayvon Martin’s
death, which was supported by substantial evidence and seems to
have been
accepted
by the jury, precluded the possibility of retreat,
since Zimmerman claimed Martin knocked him to the ground and was on
top of him, smacking his head against the concrete.) Then again,
even states that impose a duty to retreat make an exception when it
cannot be done safely, and driving away from a gunman who has just
threatened to kill you (per Dunn’s account) would be pretty
risky.

About that alleged gun: Police never found it, although Strolla
argued that Davis’ friends had time to ditch it and could have
retrieved it later, before a thorough search of the area was
conducted. The fact that Strolla
said
the purported weapon might have been a “lead pipe” or a
“stick” did not inspire confidence in Dunn’s story, which was
further undermined by the testimony of Strolla’s girlfriend, who
was with him immediately after the shooting and during the
following day. She
said
he never mentioned a shotgun to her. Under Florida’s
self-defense law, the Times claims, Dunn “needed only
to be convinced that he saw a shotgun, whether or not one was
present.” That is not quite right. Dunn had to
reasonably believe
Davis was threatening him with
a shotgun. If his perceptions were colored by irrational
preconceptions concerning the violent propensities of surly black
teenagers listening to “thug” music (as seems plausible), his
belief, even if sincere, was not reasonable. In any case, the fact
that Dunn fled the scene and did not call the police, who located
him the next day via the license plate number seen by a witness,
strongly suggests he did not really believe the shooting was
justified. Furthermore, the fact that Dunn continued to fire on the
SUV as it pulled away is consistent with the prosecution’s theory
that he acted out of anger rather than fear.

Given the fishy elements of Dunn’s story and behavior, it may
seem surprising that the jurors, who had the
options
of second-degree murder and manslaughter as well as
first-degree murder, could not agree that his use of deadly force
against Davis was not justified. But the prosecution had to prove
beyond a reasonable doubt that Dunn was not acting in
self-defense, and if one juror believed it did not meet that test,
that would have been enough to block a verdict. The holdout would
not have to be convinced that Dunn was telling the truth; he would
merely have to think that believing Dunn was reasonable. The
absence of a duty to retreat might have made a
difference in that judgment, but it is not at all clear that it
did.

Prosecutors plan to try Dunn again on the murder charge. Already
he
faces
at least 20 years in prison under Florida’s “10-20-life”
rules for crimes involving guns, and he could receive a sentence as
long as 75 years (a life sentence, effectively) if the judge
decides that the terms for each count should be served
consecutively. Dunn is scheduled to be sentenced the week of March
24. 

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1grPOsx
via IFTTT

S.M. Oliva: FEC Fears the Dead Will Corrupt Politics

Raymond Groves Burrington, a Tennessee day
trader, died in 2007. In his will, he left 25 percent of his estate
to the Libertarian Party (LP). the Federal Election Commission
(FEC) told the LNC it could not accept the Burrington estate’s
bequest—at least not all at once—due to campaign finance laws.
 The LP sued, and the FEC retorted that there was no need to
rule on the issue, because “there is no reasonable expectation that
the Contribution Limit will restrict a bequest to the LNC again,”
given its minor party status. Yet, the FEC maintains the
contribution limit is necessary to prevent the “corruption” of a
politically irrelevant group like the LP. S.M. Oliva says this
makes no sense. After all, how could a dead man corrupt a
party?

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1bCbWkM
via IFTTT

Video: Why Gay Marriage is Winning

Last week Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage was
struck down
by a federal judge. While same-sex marriage in
the Old Dominion isn’t yet fully legal, the ruling is yet another
sign that those fighting for marriage equality are
winning. 

Back in February of 2012, Reason TV’s Kennedy explained why
libertarian-leaning Republicans have been central to the movement’s
success. 

Original text below:

With Washington state recently
legalizing same-sex unions
and
Maryland about to follow suit
, gay marriage hasn’t been on this
big a roll since Bert and Ernie first shacked up on Sesame
Street
. When Maryland finalizes its bill, seven states and the
District of Columbia will sanction the practice.

But before you bust out the appletinis and Indigo Girls CDs to
celebrate, consider that just last year in Maryland – a deep-blue,
Democratic-majority state when it comes to politics – gay marriage
went down faster than George Michael in a public restroom due to
resistance from socially conservative African Americans in the
Democratic Party. Indeed, while 71 percent of white Democrats in
the Old Line State favor gay marriage,
just 41 percent
of black Democrats do.

So what’s different this time around? Democratic
Gov. Martin O’Malley
and other pro-marriage legislators took a
page from
New York’s gay playbook
and reached around to sympathetic
Republicans to seal the deal.

Inconceivable even a generation ago, gay marriage is well on its
way
to becoming mainstream
as a growing majority of Americans now
favor it. The only question is when, not if, folks such as Maryland
residents Justin and Phillip Terry-Smith will join heterosexuals in
the joys of getting married – and divorced – happily ever
after.

About 2.30 minutes. Produced by Joshua Swain. Written by Nick
Gillespie and Kennedy, who also hosts.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1gIDeEP
via IFTTT

John Ross on the ‘Crime’ of Having a Hidden Compartment in Your Car

Hidden compartmentLast fall, Ohio state troopers pulled 30-year-old
Norman Gurley over for speeding. Detecting an “overwhelming smell
of raw marijuana,” officers spent hours searching the vehicle and
found no contraband. But they did discover an empty secret
compartment. For that, police hauled Gurley, who has no criminal
record, off to jail. As John Ross points out, Gurley’s arrest
struck more than a few people as an abuse of power. George
Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley calls the
incident “part of the expanding criminalization of America where
virtually any act can be charged as a crime by police.”

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1dA4gyd
via IFTTT