- Buy a copy of my father’s book about a journalistic, humanitarian, muckraking adventure in the Jim Crow South. Ray Sprigle is a forgotten great of journalism, and he made a Black Like Me trip in 1948, before just about anyone was bothering to do anything about the country’s race problem, and when “enlightened” people thought the best solution was to keep things separate, but be more polite and “equal” about it. 30 Days a Black Man: The Forgotten Story that Exposed the Jim Crow South tells the tale of Sprigle, his guide John Wesley Dobbs, and other amazing, and sadly-forgotten characters. Read it!
Donate money so that my beloved friend Alexis can see! It’s the transhumanist future, baby, and legally blind people like Alexis can be helped by devices such as eSite. She needs to raise $15,000 and I promise, she’s worth it. (I mean, not to rank people or anything, but I have a pro-Alexis bias.)
What is it about liberals and Uber?
They hate it — and clearly don’t understand Uber’s instant appeal to riders and its utility to old guys like me who drive for Uber part-time on Pittsburgh’s bumpy but not very mean streets. If only Uber drivers formed a union and got $40 an hour and 12 paid holidays, then liberals would leave it alone.
Liberals in the media — who somehow think America’s Yellow Cab companies are victims — want to regulate Uber so it becomes as awful and consumer-unfriendly as monopoly cabs.
Steven Hill wrote this about my brave and brassy boss for The Huffington Post — “How Stephen Colbert Blew It With Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.” Hill’s a Senior Fellow at New America and author of “Raw Deal: How the ‘Uber Economy’ and Runaway Capitalism Are Screwing American Workers,” so we all know what part of left field he’s playing in.
Since I don’t have a real journalism gig writing op-eds anymore, and since Uber does not see fit to pay me to travel America and defend it from its many media enemies, it’s become my role to write comments defending Uber and attacking Big Taxi.
Steve Hill says he’s not trying to defend Big Taxi but then does a great job of doing exactly that. Big Taxi is not a victim and Uber is not a villain. Big Taxi deserves to die and it’s in its death throes. It got big about 80 years ago when, thanks to foolish New Deal thinking that thought competition was bad, nearly every state and city granted monopoly status to favored or politically connected cab companies. Most cities got one cab company that was able to charge high fares, screw cabbies with high leases ($800 a week now in Pittsburgh), screw customers with horrible often racist “service” and take advantage of the bad regulations that OUTLAWED all competition. (Meanwhile, states and cities pretended to regulate cab companies but really didn’t.) Those who think Uber — and I drive for Uber in Pittsburgh part-time — should be regulated like taxis have it backwards. Taxis should be deregulated like Uber. Uber is finally doing what no politician has ever done and no national or local news media have ever called for — opened up local transportation markets to legal competition and liberated people from the chains of Big Taxi and Big Public Transit. Make fun of Kalanick for his hyperbole if you want, but he and his pals deserve medals for disrupting and destroying Big Taxi and aggressively challenging all the bad laws that have made Big Taxi and its owners big and wealthy. I’m happy to report that based on the smiling faces of hundreds of my under-30 Uber riders, our children will never voluntarily use Yellow Cabs again.
- Oh, here are some things I have written lately, like “Advocating For the Next War Means Forgetting History” for Antiwar. Also, my VICE piece — most successful ever, yes I watch the shiny clicks happens — on cops shooting people holding (non-firearm) weapons. Also, my new VICE piece — not nearly so successful — on the idea of feds fixing local cops.
- Hey, Dad‘s Dogging Steinbeck was reviewed in The Daily Caller! Best of all, reviewed by a creative nonfiction writer who uncomfortably concluded that Dad had a point with his Steinbeck annoyance. (Thanks, Jordan Bloom, for finding a worthy reviewer!)
- Allah Pundit linked to me, other less important people, while musing on Rand Paul’s interventionism levels.
- And hey, I ranted about the police on Saturday Night Cigar Lounge over at Vigilant Liberty Radio. (My segment starts at 33’45).
- Here’s Pat Buchanan on ISIS, the why and the what to do
- Headlines from the start of World War II (no offense, Manchuria).
- Matt Welch gives Rand Paul credit on criminal justice reform — something he deserves, no matter what else happens.
- Reminder that Jeff Mizanskey is serving life in prison without parole for marijuana-related crimes. This, unclever liberals and conservatives who say libertarians are just Republicans who want to smoke pot, is why we hate you when you say that.
- Policy Mic writer confused that the decreasing threat of new gun regulations has lead to fewer sales of “assault” rifles. How is that surprising?
- WTF, DHS
- Oldie, but goodie: Cathy Young is reasonable and non-panicked in respect to the issue of online harassment. Violent threats are disturbing and should not be excused as just trolling, HOWEVER, if you read Jezebel, similar, you will see unqualified statements about the life of being a woman online being one of endless harassment. Knock on wood, but that has not ever been the case for me. Nor are these handful of disturbing stories acceptable proof that this problem is as widepsread as people are making it out to be. Again, people being told they will be raped and murder, not okay. Thankfully, it might be rarer than it seems.
- This piece mentions the word “taxi” once — “What happens when the local taxi companies are destroyed[?]” Well, people in Pittsburgh might be able to get a ride somewhere, for one. Critique Uber all you like, but if you want me to take you remotely seriously, don’t use “hyper-capitalism” and try to have the slightest idea what you’re talking about in terms of transportation regulations.
- Also today in nope: Nope, Melissa Harris-Perry. Rand Paul deserves more criminal justice points than Obama. Sorry.
- Nope, Taylor Swift is not obligated to do anything, or sing about anything. The world is always going to shit, which is exactly the reason some people like stupid songs about “haters.”
- And nope, the ice bucket challenge isn’t bad because…uh…people in other countries are suffering. I don’t even know.
- Here is a Guardian sentence: “If you see yourself as a left-leaning progressive parent, you might want to exercise some of that oppressive parental control and limit your kids exposure to the “freedom” expressed in YA dystopian fiction.” I see you reaching feebly for self-awareness, but it’s too late. Yes, stop the children from reading The Hunger Games. Katnis is such a horrible model for children, with her self-sacrifice, bravery, and desire to live without government oppressing her. Damn those books for suggesting that war is horrible — even wars of liberation — and may leave you with PTSD and a worse, or equally bad government. Ugh. I might need to write more on this topic, for the troll is strong.
- I find Jerry Springer singing about Cincinnati sort of entrancing, yet disturbing. (H/T: Jesse Walker)
- Empire Records is not a very good movie, and yet 1) I read this entire piece, 2) When my sister’s friend from Canada was visiting, the two of them watched the movie 2.75 times, and I watched it three times, and each time I was totally too young to know what was going on. 3) At least it’s not Reality Bites, because God damn that movie is the worst.
- These are the vaccines you’re looking for.
- Why Doctor Who gets us right in the gut.
Videos of the day:
John Doe and the Sadies cover Johnny Cash
Sam Quinn, whose music is so good, and so not very available to share with the people, does a version of “Peggy-O.” I wish I could share his live version of the Juicy Fruit jingle. It is truly inspired.
The Tea Party senator has some wild and damaging ideas about education — and overlooks what actually works
Boy, Salon is pretty awful — and desperate to beat up on Rand Paul.
They let a public school math teacher from northwest Ohio attempt to put down some of Paul’s education reform ideas that were sketched out in Politico.
The selfless teacher actually argued that the best way to improve the quality of public K-12 teachers was not to offer more choice to parents/consumers but to pay teachers more. Brilliant.
Here’s the comment I posted to annoy everyone:
Nice headline. It’s hardly a “libertarian fantasy” to imagine a genuine k-12 education market that is overflowing with choices for consumers (parents) and the other taxpayers who foot the bill for the bloated, over-funded, poorly performing public school industrial complex. Our math teacher, like all good selfish/greedy union school teachers, doesn’t want any competition — human or digital — that might encroach or poach on “his” government-protected economic turf.
Rand Paul isn’t talking about replacing flesh and blood teachers with online lecturers. He wants to remove the myriad government restrictions that protect the current public school system and create an education market. He wants to allow/encourage a thousand schools of every kind and size and shape to bloom. Our high college tuition costs are caused by government subsidies/policies, but there is far more choice for parents/students in the American college market (and in cars and shoes and grocery stores and many other goods and services) than in k-12 education.
The current system — a 19th century factory-school, made-in-Prussia model of control and brainwashing that liberals and libertarians have lamented and loathed for 140 years — should be broken up, defunded, deregulated, privatized and taken away from government control and protection.
Meanwhile, paying public school teachers more is not the way to get better teachers; but allowing people to become teachers without having to waste two years at a state teachers college getting a teacher’s certificate is. If Christ or Einstein came back from the dead and said they wanted to teach ethics or physics at your local high school, they’d be told they weren’t allowed until they got their teacher’s certificate and got at the end of the waiting line.
Public school teachers have a good racket because they and the “industry” they work in are protected from competition by their friends in government. Until their privileged racket is broken up, they deserve all the competition and damaging they get.
“Dogging Steinbeck,” in case you are among the 318,543,866 Americans who haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, is a new genre I’m trying to popularize called “True Nonfiction.”
Half literary expose and half American road book, “Dogging Steinbeck” is the honest and accurate account of my long journey with the great John Steinbeck and his beloved work of BS, “Travels With Charley.”
It details how I discovered the truth about Steinbeck’s iconic 1960 road trip with his dog Charley and how I exposed the fraudulent nature of the allegedly nonfiction book Steinbeck wrote about his journey.
As I explain and prove at length, “Charley” is not very true or honest. It’s mostly fiction and a few lies. For every true thing you want to know about Steinbeck’s trip, my trip and his book without having to fork over a lousy $5.99 for “Dogging Steinbeck,” I’d advise going to TruthAboutCharley.com.
My book, which I swear is 103 percent true, is a literary detective story, a traditional American road book and a primer in drive-by journalism and how the media work. All from a libertarian point of view.
It’s also part history lesson of 1960 America, part book review, part Steinbeck bio and part indictment of the negligence of Steinbeck scholars who failed to discover Steinbeck’s literary deceit for 50 years and then blithely excused it as inconsequential or irrelevant after I told them about it.
Guess I should have included footnotes.
But a lot of people — especially young and/or romantic diehard “Charley” fans — don’t appreciate me for ruining the romance of Steinbeck’s flawed book. Just look at the dumb 1-star reviews on Amazon.
But sorry, Steinbeckies, what I did with my humble work of journalism has changed the way “Travels With Charley” will be read forevermore.
In the fall of 2012 the book’s publisher, Penguin Group, issued a 50th anniversary edition of “Travels With Charley” that admitted that what I had learned and exposed was correct — as in “the truth.”
“Charley’s” introduction, first written by Steinbeck biographer Jay Parini in 1997, from now on will contain a major disclaimer warning gullible readers that the famous book they are about to read is so full of fiction and fictional techniques that it should not be taken literally or considered to be a work of nonfiction. In layman’s terms, it should be considered a work of bullshit.
Parini’s disclaimer includes this stark sentence: “It should be kept in mind, when reading this travelogue, that Steinbeck took liberties with the facts, inventing freely when it served his purposes, using everything in the arsenal of the novelist to make this book a readable, vivid narrative.”
I wasn’t given credit for this discovery of this ugly truth. I was identified only as a former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter who did some light “fact-checking” (and made lazy fools of the Steinbeck scholars).
But at least from now on no 14-year-old who reads Steinbeck’s classic road book will ever be tricked into thinking it’s a true story. I hope.
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