On #RepealDay, Remember "Prohibition Vogue" with Ken Burns, Dan Okrent, and Boardwalk Empire

 

Today is Repeal Day, the day went alcohol prohibition went
bust.

Check out the video above, from 2010, in which we interview
documentarian Ken Burns, who just released a PBS documentary on
“the noble experiment” and author Daniel Okrent, whose great
history Last Call, was the basis for the series.

Since this is the week of Reason’s annual
webathon
– during which we’re trying to raise $100,000 in
tax-deductible contributions from readers like you (hey, that
sounds like PBS!) – let me point out that we don’t just make
interesting videos about issues that matter (though we do that, and
in spades).

We also act as your voice in public debates over politics,
culture, and ideas. To that point, check out this longer interview
we did with Ken Burns in which he and I mix it up over public
funding for the arts, market forces and the economics of art, and
how political identity is formed (Burns is a self-declared
“yellow-dog Democrat”).

Across all of our journalistic platforms – the print mag, the
website, Reason TV – we want to bring you the latest and most
pressing stories from a libertarian perspective, we want to sharpen
and refine and expand libertarian ideas and concepts, and we want
to engage other thinkers, creators, policymakers, and influentials
with our vision of Free Minds and Free Markets. That’s what your
contributions – not just tax-deductible but also fully voluntary
(unlike PBS, which gets tax dollars) – go toward. Please think about
giving to us over the next week.

Here’s the Burns interview:

 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/on-repealday-remember-prohibition-vogue
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On #RepealDay, Remember “Prohibition Vogue” with Ken Burns, Dan Okrent, and Boardwalk Empire

 

Today is Repeal Day, the day went alcohol prohibition went
bust.

Check out the video above, from 2010, in which we interview
documentarian Ken Burns, who just released a PBS documentary on
“the noble experiment” and author Daniel Okrent, whose great
history Last Call, was the basis for the series.

Since this is the week of Reason’s annual
webathon
– during which we’re trying to raise $100,000 in
tax-deductible contributions from readers like you (hey, that
sounds like PBS!) – let me point out that we don’t just make
interesting videos about issues that matter (though we do that, and
in spades).

We also act as your voice in public debates over politics,
culture, and ideas. To that point, check out this longer interview
we did with Ken Burns in which he and I mix it up over public
funding for the arts, market forces and the economics of art, and
how political identity is formed (Burns is a self-declared
“yellow-dog Democrat”).

Across all of our journalistic platforms – the print mag, the
website, Reason TV – we want to bring you the latest and most
pressing stories from a libertarian perspective, we want to sharpen
and refine and expand libertarian ideas and concepts, and we want
to engage other thinkers, creators, policymakers, and influentials
with our vision of Free Minds and Free Markets. That’s what your
contributions – not just tax-deductible but also fully voluntary
(unlike PBS, which gets tax dollars) – go toward. Please think about
giving to us over the next week.

Here’s the Burns interview:

 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/on-repealday-remember-prohibition-vogue
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How Do You Charge an Unarmed Man with Shooting People? Get the NYPD Involved.

Surprised they didn't demand the women they shot pay to replace the bulletsIn September, New York Police
officers responded to an emotionally disturbed man causing a ruckus
at a Times Square bus terminal by
opening fire
on him while they were surrounded by crowds and
traffic. They missed him and hit two innocent bystanders (one of
whom was in a walker). Police said at the time they thought the
man, Glenn Broadnax, was reaching for a gun, but he turned out to
be unarmed.

Even though Broadnax was not armed, an indictment unsealed
Wednesday is charging him with assault for the injuries caused by
police gunfire. From the
New York Times
:

The man, Glenn Broadnax, 35, of Brooklyn, created a disturbance
on Sept. 14, wading into traffic at 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue
and throwing himself into the path of oncoming cars.

A curious crowd grew. Police officers arrived and tried to
corral Mr. Broadnax, a 250-pound man. When he reached into his
pants pocket, two officers, who, the police said, thought he was
pulling a gun, opened fire, missing Mr. Broadnax, but hitting two
nearby women. Finally, a police sergeant knocked Mr. Broadnax down
with a Taser. …

Initially Mr. Broadnax was arrested on misdemeanor charges of
menacing, drug possession and resisting arrest. But the Manhattan
district attorney’s office persuaded a grand jury to charge Mr.
Broadnax with assault, a felony carrying a maximum sentence of 25
years. Specifically, the nine-count indictment unsealed on
Wednesday said Mr. Broadnax “recklessly engaged in conduct which
created a grave risk of death.”

“The defendant is the one that created the situation that
injured innocent bystanders,” said an assistant district attorney,
Shannon Lucey.

Broadnax was taken to Bellevue Hospital after they got him down
and told police he was hearing voices of dead relatives and was
trying to commit suicide. But a psychologist has nevertheless found
him competent to stand trial.

One of the women shot by the police is absolutely not having
it:

Mariann Wang, a lawyer representing Sahar Khoshakhlagh, one of
the women who was wounded, said the district attorney should be
pursuing charges against the two officers who fired their weapons
in a crowd, not against Mr. Broadnax. “It’s an incredibly
unfortunate use of prosecutorial discretion to be prosecuting a man
who didn’t even injure my client,” she said. “It’s the police who
injured my client.”

New York City spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year

settling claims
against the city (though not all are tied to
police behavior). Despite trying to redirect responsibility
Broadnax’s way, it should not be a surprise to see six figures or
more of city money heading in the direction of Khoshakhlagh and the
other woman shot.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/how-do-you-charge-an-unarmed-man-with-sh
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Donate to Reason, Because We Lead the League in Defending Against Cuckoo-Bananas Attacks on Libertarianism!

Oh, Andy Singer, you've done it again! |||So! We’re off to a good start here on Day
Two of Reason’s annual
webathon
, in which we ask you, our dear readers, customers,
hecklers and “special” friends, to make a tax-deductible (if you
are a U.S. citizen) donation so that
we can produce even more of the best good goddamned libertarian
journalism and commentary in the known universe. We are making the
audacious ask this year of $100,000 over the week, and preliminary
reports from Day One show around 125 donors making a generous
combined gift of around $23,000, and huzzah for that! Even last
night’s shameless Bitcoin-guilting—yes,
droogies, we are accepting
Bitcoin
—seems to have loosed some of the silvery decentralized
stuff out of your digital mattresses: 12 donations totaling $876 as
of midnight. 

Why should you donate to the
501(c)3 nonprofit
that makes all of Reason’s journalism possible? The reasons are
longer than
President Obama’s nose
, but our progressive friends over at
AlterNet inadvertently provided one earlier this week with an
impressively awful piece titled “Why
Atheist Libertarians Are Part of America’s 1 Percent Problem
.”
Bask in the deep thinking of lefty atheist C.J.
Werleman
:

[F]or some stupid reason, far too many of my non-believer
brethren have hitched their wagon to the daftest of all
socio-economic theories.

Oh, C.J. Werleman, you've done it again! |||It doesn’t help when atheist luminaries publicly
extol their libertarianism. Penn Jillette writes, “What makes me a
libertarian is what makes me an atheist—I don’t know. If I don’t
know, I don’t believe….I’ll wait for real evidence and then I’ll
believe.”

Well, the only excuse Jillette has for his breathtaking
ignorance is that he earns his living performing as a Las Vegas
magician. Also, he graduated from a clown college.

Famed science author and editor of Skeptic magazine Michael
Shermer says he became a libertarian after reading Ayn Rand’s
tome Atlas Shrugged. Wait, what? That’s the book that
continues to inspire college sophomores during the height of their
masturbatory careers, typically young Republicans (nee fascists).
[…]

When I hear an atheist say he is a libertarian, I know he’s
given absolutely no thought to it other than the fact that he likes
the sound of no foreign wars and no drug laws. The aphorism that
libertarians are Republicans with bongs is just about spot-on.
[…]

Ultimately, atheist libertarians are not part of the solution;
atheist libertarians are part of the problem.

Oh, Michael Lind! |||At Reason, we delight in recognizing such
authoritarian-minded, anti-libertarian purgery for what it is: a
panicked and
frequently fact-free
attempt to swat down a
growing
philosophy/orientation that’s making real inroads in
just about every sizeable bloc in American life. That’s why we’re
your go-to source whenever Salon is trying to
purge libertarians from anti-surveillance rallies
, Chris
Christie is trying to
purge libertarians from the Republican Party
, John Boehner is
trying to
purge fiscal conservatives from any congressional positions of
authority
, 99 percenters are trying to
purge Free Staters from Occupy New Hampshire
, hawks are trying
to
purge anti-interventionists from respectable conversation
,
major-party tribalists are trying to
purge electoral independents
, and so on and so forth and
scooby-dooby-do.

Anti-libertarians on parade. |||We don’t just defend libertarianism’s honor,
honey badger-style, when
attacked by n’er-do-wells. We also explain to new audiences, calmly
and with a winning smile, what all this libertarian hubbub is
about. So you have Senior Editor Brian Doherty telling New York
Times
readers about the
rise of post-Ron Paul libertarians in the GOP
. You have Nick
Gillespie detailing “5
Myths About Libertarians
” for the Washington
Post
, and you have me
explaining to Stuart Varney
just what all us libertarian
wackaloons want in regards to U.S. foreign policy
anyway.

We’re here for you, is what I’m trying to say. Now won’t you be
here for us?

A hunnerd large gets you a subscription & a sweet black
Reason T shirt, which I can testify is a great conversation-starter
in Brooklyn. Two-fitty gets you that plus a gift sub & a copy
of Reason.tv’s devastating full length documentary, America’s Longest War.
Half a G allows you the right to torture Nick Gillespie and I with
a question for our next “Ask a Libertarian” series. Double that and
you get a private lunch with an editor to be named later. Our
highest tier of $2,500 gets you VIP tickets to the next Reason
Media Awards, which is a super-awesome party on the island of
Manhattan. And of course, you are free to give us $250,000, or
$2.50, or however much Bitcoin
you’re willing to part with.

Let’s do this! Please donate to
Reason right the hell now
!

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/donate-to-reason-because-we-lead-the-lea
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Peter Suderman on the Latest Obamacare Workaround

In
October, when it became clear that Obamacare’s online enrollment
system wasn’t functioning, President Obama gave a
speech in which he told people who wanted to sign up
to contact call centers instead, or fill out pen and paper
applications. This week, the administration announced that it would
be employing another manual workaround, this time for critical
insurer payment systems. In this case, it’s not because the
payment system is broken. Instead, it’s because the part of the
system that is supposed to both calculate how much money the
government owes insurers in premium subsidy and cost-sharing
payments and make the appropriate payments simply hasn’t been built
yet.

What hasn’t been built can’t be used, but insurers need to be
paid in order for the system to function. So the administration has
decided to require insurers to estimate how much they are owed
and submit payment requests manually. Later, after the
systems are built, the plan is to sort out the details and figure
out the exact amounts that should have been billed, then reconcile
any differences.

Because it deals with the insurance industry side of the system,
this temporary, technical tweak will probably garner far less
attention than the ongoing problems with the consumer side of the
federal exchange system. But as Reason Senior Editor Peter Suderman
explains, the on-the-fly patch offers a revealing moment for the
law all the same, one that highlights how unfinished,
unaccountable, and unworkable the health law continues to be.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/peter-suderman-on-the-latest-obamacare-w
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Hoist a Glass to the End of One Prohibition, and Hope for an End to Others

Illegal breweryAs noted
earlier
by Meredith Bragg, today is the 80th anniversary of the
end of the ignoble experiment, Prohibition. It was a national
toe-dip into massive social engineering that proved so impressively
unsuccessful and self-defeating that, even after it was repealed,
its basic premise was repeated with a host of other disfavored
substances and services—and without the bother of authorization via
a constitutional amendment. For part of my family, Prohibition was
a special time. It marked a period of prosperity that really wasn’t
replicated for several generations.

After years of trying make a living, with varying degrees of
success, in Italy and Argentina, Giuseppe “Joe” Marano arrived in
this country early in the twentieth century. Before long, my
great-grandfather was doing pretty damned well for an
immigrant. 

As my father documented in his book Heretic:

When Prohibition was imposed on the nation ten years later,
Joe’s ristorante was flourishing openly as the most
successful speakeasy in the Bronx. Marano’s Bar and Restaurant was
the place where some of New York City’s leading politicians,
including the police commissioner, adjourned to drink contraband
beverages far from the scrutiny of nosy reporters.

Even with his entire business operating outside the law, Joe put
out a free lunch for customers. My grandmother, Virginia, was
instructed to exercise a heavy hand with the red pepper, since it
encouraged thirst and sales at the bar.

Marano’s business efforts largely paid for a string of
girlfriends and a comfortable lifestyle, but he also acquired
property in the Bronx that was split between a cousin, and his
daughter. Virginia married Salvatore “Chips” Tuccille, who made
part of his living running illegal games in defiance of another
prohibition
.

Marano died soon after Prohibition ended. Well…After
that prohibition ended. There was still gambling to keep
my grandfather occupied. A cousin indulged in loan-sharking, to
satisfy high-risk borrowers with a need for short-term loans of the
sort the law
doesn’t allow
. Another relation of mine became somewhat
prosperous through a connection to what became known as the
French
Connection
,” though I’m ignorant of the details of that
venture.

For my part, college was a a lot more affordable than might have
been the case since I
“corrected” identification documents
to help fellow students
escape the lingering alcohol restrictions left in the wake of
Prohibition’s repeal. I also sold grass in defiance of the biggest
prohibition to replace the one on alcohol.

Frankly, those license-and-regulation-free ventures were a lot
easier to navigate than any “legit” business I’ve worked since. But
I could have done without the headache of looking over my shoulder
for the cops. As the ACLU reported recently.
thousands of nonviolent offenders are serving life in prison
as
a result of drug prohibition and resulting “tough on crime”
policies. To save myself some worries, I should have followed Joe’s
example and cultivated the police commissioner as a customer.

So hoist a glass to the end of Prohibition. But take a moment to
raise a pipe, a joint, a fake ID, a deck of cards, a loan receipt,
or a host of other forbidden items in hopes that remaining
prohibitions will follow the one that starts with a capital “P”
into the history books.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/hoist-a-glass-to-the-end-of-one-prohibit
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Police Shoot and Kill Man With Special Needs in New Jersey, Surveillance Video Seized for Evidence

shot by copsPolice in Perth Amboy, New Jersey said they were
responding to a call about an emotionally disturbed person
yesterday afternoon when they
shot and killed
31 or 32-year-old Dixon Rodriguez on the
street. Police say they found a knife on Rodriguez after shooting
him. The officers who shot Rodriguez say he attacked them with the
knife. Neither was seriously injured according to the local
prosecutor, who is investigating the incident. Family and neighbors
doubt the official story.
Via the Star Ledger:

People who live in the neighborhood and at least one
family friend were skeptical of the prosecutor’s account.

“We don’t believe Dixon had a knife,” said Joel Perez, who lives
nearby on Kearney Avenue. “(Dixon) was someone who had the mind of
a six-year-old. It wasn’t in him to do something like this.”

Family friend Carlos Calda said his understanding was that
Rodriguez was shot after reaching into his pocket for candy.

“He had gum in his pocket and when he went to take it out he was
shot three times,” Calda said.

Calda said a family member described Rodriguez as autistic.

Passerby Brenda Munoz told ABC-TV news she witnessed the shooting
and heard an officer say, “I thought he had something.”

Munoz told the station she did not see a knife.

Neighbor Frank Rodriguez of 207 Hall Ave. described the shooting
victim as someone who had never been violent before.

“He used to walk around the street asking people for quarters,”
Rodriguez said. “We knew he had issues, but he’s never hurt
anybody.”

At least one surveillance camera apparently caught the incident
on video. Prosecutors have seized that video but it has not been
released. Had Rodriguez survived the shooting, perhaps he would’ve
been
charged with assault
.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/police-shoot-and-kill-man-with-special-n
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All Aboard for a Sun-Filled, Intellectually Stimulating Week at Sea! You Won’t Want to Miss Fixing the World: Reason Seminar Cruise 2014!

Register today at www.reasoncruise.com

Virginia PostrelSpend a week with
author, columnist and speaker Virginia Postrel,
whose fascinating work runs the gamut from science to fashion.
Virginia is the former Editor in Chief of Reason magazine,
and is the author of the soon-to-be-released
Power of Glamour
.

Other speakers on this year’s cruise include “skeptical
environmentalist” Bjorn Lomborg, author and
historian Johan Norberg, Reason Editor in
Chief Matt Welch, Reason TV Editor in Chief Nick
Gillespie
, Reason Science Correspondent
Ron Bailey, and Reason Senior Editor
Jacob Sullum.

We’ll be traveling in style on the Celebrity Silhouette, and
all-inclusive accommodations start at just $1,650 per person (and
range up to deluxe cabins with incredible ocean views and private
verandas).

reason cruise 2014

Find out more and register today at www.reasoncruise.com

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/all-aboard-for-a-sun-filled-intellectual
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"Peace will not come from a court case in a distant land": Kenya vs. The International Criminal Court

Interesting piece in The New York Times
about the International Criminal Court, which is based in The Hague
and prosecutes war crimes and crimes against humanity. The article
is by Martin Kimani, Kenya’s rep at the United Nations. The ICC has
indicted high-level Kenyans for violent actions after the 2008
elections. Kimani notes that had the ICC, which came
into being in 2002, existed when the Republic of South Africa
dismantled apartheid and created its widely praised Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, it would have likely indicted the very
leaders who ended apartheid. 

If International Criminal Court had existed in the 1990s and
applied the same evidentiary standards that were used to indict
Kenya’s leaders in 2011, it might very well have sought to charge
Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk, and Inkatha’s leader, Mangosuthu
Buthelezi, for the crimes that occurred on their watch, likely with
fatal consequences for South Africa’s successful transition.

Many South Africans were skeptical of the idea of a T.R.C., with
its parade of sordid killers walking off scot-free.

But South Africa was afforded — and afforded itself — an
opportunity to pursue its own solution to its challenge. If it
worked in South Africa, it can work in Kenya, too. Our recent
record of reforms demonstrates that we have an appetite to take up
this responsibility.

Peace will not come from a court case in a distant land.

The ICC, argues Kimani, is not acting according to its charter,
which focuses on “complementarity” with specific country’s legal
systems. The basic idea is that if a country deals with crimes in
an effective way, the ICC should pull back and act only as a court
of last resort.

After the post-election violence in 2008, a coalition government
was formed and we overwhelmingly approved a new constitution. We
now have a real separation of powers, an independent judiciary and
prosecutor, an imperial presidency trimmed to size, and power has
been devolved to the local level.

Like South Africa, we have a truth, justice and reconciliation
commission that completed its work this year. And an independent
electoral commission and courts delivered a free and peaceful
election in 2013 whose winners, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto,
were political rivals in an alliance that united the main ethnic
communities at the heart of the 2008 violence.


Read the whole thing.

Human Rights Watch says the Kenyatta and Ruto, both of whom are
defendants named in The Hague proceedings,
haven’t done enough
to stave off ICC involvement.

As Matt Welch points out here,
the U.S. has had a strained relationship
with the ICC and has
certainly never (and with for many good reasons) submitted itself
to its jurisdiction.

In 2010, Reason talked with T. Markus Funk, who worked at the
Departments of Justice and State, and authored a critical analysis
of the ICC titled Victims’ Rights and Advocacy at the
International Criminal Court.

Check it out below:

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/peace-will-not-come-from-a-court-case-in
via IFTTT

“Peace will not come from a court case in a distant land”: Kenya vs. The International Criminal Court

Interesting piece in The New York Times
about the International Criminal Court, which is based in The Hague
and prosecutes war crimes and crimes against humanity. The article
is by Martin Kimani, Kenya’s rep at the United Nations. The ICC has
indicted high-level Kenyans for violent actions after the 2008
elections. Kimani notes that had the ICC, which came
into being in 2002, existed when the Republic of South Africa
dismantled apartheid and created its widely praised Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, it would have likely indicted the very
leaders who ended apartheid. 

If International Criminal Court had existed in the 1990s and
applied the same evidentiary standards that were used to indict
Kenya’s leaders in 2011, it might very well have sought to charge
Nelson Mandela, F.W. de Klerk, and Inkatha’s leader, Mangosuthu
Buthelezi, for the crimes that occurred on their watch, likely with
fatal consequences for South Africa’s successful transition.

Many South Africans were skeptical of the idea of a T.R.C., with
its parade of sordid killers walking off scot-free.

But South Africa was afforded — and afforded itself — an
opportunity to pursue its own solution to its challenge. If it
worked in South Africa, it can work in Kenya, too. Our recent
record of reforms demonstrates that we have an appetite to take up
this responsibility.

Peace will not come from a court case in a distant land.

The ICC, argues Kimani, is not acting according to its charter,
which focuses on “complementarity” with specific country’s legal
systems. The basic idea is that if a country deals with crimes in
an effective way, the ICC should pull back and act only as a court
of last resort.

After the post-election violence in 2008, a coalition government
was formed and we overwhelmingly approved a new constitution. We
now have a real separation of powers, an independent judiciary and
prosecutor, an imperial presidency trimmed to size, and power has
been devolved to the local level.

Like South Africa, we have a truth, justice and reconciliation
commission that completed its work this year. And an independent
electoral commission and courts delivered a free and peaceful
election in 2013 whose winners, Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto,
were political rivals in an alliance that united the main ethnic
communities at the heart of the 2008 violence.


Read the whole thing.

Human Rights Watch says the Kenyatta and Ruto, both of whom are
defendants named in The Hague proceedings,
haven’t done enough
to stave off ICC involvement.

As Matt Welch points out here,
the U.S. has had a strained relationship
with the ICC and has
certainly never (and with for many good reasons) submitted itself
to its jurisdiction.

In 2010, Reason talked with T. Markus Funk, who worked at the
Departments of Justice and State, and authored a critical analysis
of the ICC titled Victims’ Rights and Advocacy at the
International Criminal Court.

Check it out below:

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/05/peace-will-not-come-from-a-court-case-in
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