- Today in world’s smallest violin/if it works, let’s go for it.
- The drone program has killed more people than who died on 9/11. Thanks, Obama!
- Me at Antiwar: ‘The Nonsense of War’
- Me at Rare: ‘On marijuana, Obama is a huge hypocrite’
- On March 30, I was on The Bob Zadek Show to talk about the war on drugs and private prisons.
- A Liberty.me LIVE spreecast where I chat with Sheldon Richman on ‘The Poison Called Nationalism.’
- And the slightly less polished Sheldon Richman and I talk Iran one. (Also my mic is too loud at the start. Lo siento.)
- 1) What the hell happened to this Salon? 2) What the hell happened to this Christopher Hitchens?
- Let’s take a break from antiwar talk to note that I would totally go to this if I could. Dunkirk little ships! The internet claims that Sundowner will be there. Sundowner being the yacht of Charles Lightoller, the surviving senior officer on the Titanic. Lightoller was told they were taken his boat for the evacuation, and he was all, nah, I’m taking it. So he went over, grabbed 160 fellas, and came back. One of the last adventures in a long life of them. Seriously, somebody make a BBC series about his life. Please. I can’t. I’m not British enough.
- Apropos of the above, I totally wrote Titanic fanfiction when I was 19. Except it was HISTORICAL. And I only did it twice.
- Yep. I had some excellent talks while smoking — or standing next to– M.R. and K.H. in Reason days. (But then, that wouldn’t have been so if smoking were still allowed in buildings!)
- This is a very lazy response to the conspiracy theorists who wonder why/how the BBC reported the fall of Building 7 20 minutes before it happened. But the comments are amazing. I might have missed one or two, but it appears that every single comment is by a truther. Every one.
- Still, I am not #readyforhillary
- Here is a great twitter essay, as they call it. It’s short, but should be in a blog somewhere.
- Apparently Sam Quinn used to have a moderately (for alt country, etc.) successful band called the Everybodyfields. I thought he was just the amazing maker of a live tape that S.T. and I listened to all the way to Nashville from Richmond, and back which includes the most stunningly slide guitar-filled, beautiful cover of the “Juicy Fruit” song you could possibly imagine. But, uh, this song is also on that tape.
- The Milk Carton Kids are a band I have seen twice, technically. They opened for the Lumineers who were opening for Old Crow Medicine Show, and I saw all three bands for a two night stand at DC’s 9:30 club in 2012. The Milk Carton Kids are definitely bigger fish now. They are a little too pretty and slow sometimes, but they’re really good. And if 12-year-old me had known that a duo that sounds this Simon and Garfunkel-ish was coming along, she would have rested easier.
- “You call me up again/just to break me like a promise/So casually cruel/in the name of being honest” is T-Swift lyrics at their finest. This is a solid power ballad, or whatever it is. I like the reckless mixture of cliches and legitimately good lines.
- Pokey LaFarge has written a hell of an earworm for his new album (due out later this month). I am excited to see him on the 30th! And to dance. It’s impossible not to with him playing.
My latest VICE is just musing on why the hell John Crawford got mowed down in Walmart for holding an unloaded air rifle that was from the damn store.
- Rare-wise, my most recent piece is grudging, almost, slight praise for could have been worse in one area Eric Holder.
- I wrote a longish thing about Stingrays earlier this month.
- Antiwar-wise, I just keep complaining about war. War is a great thing to complain about.
- Were I rich, my house would be full of — among other things —Soviet Cosmonaut cigarette boxes and patent medicine cards.
- Speaking of Cosmonauts, this one has feminist sass.
- I don’t actually want to reside in 1940s appalachia at all, but these Life photographs definitely make me want to fire up the old time machine.
- But Lucy, song-collector just isn’t a realistic career to have in 2014.
- White dudes and their love of blues ’78s. (AKA, more things I would collect had I money and room to spare.)
- And the ultimate dude, whose collection is superior to that of the Library of Congress (providing you like pre-war country blues, and old jazz and such.)
- God bless the USA
- Or not. John Oliver’s drone program scorn is refreshing. It’s nothing new, for those of us in the angry know, but it’s worth remembering that this isn’t over, and its still appalling. (Patriotic robots have no idea how much I love the geographical area called America, and how much I hate being made a part of things like making Pakistani children afraid of clear blue skies.)
- This seems like a pretty solid job-hating playlist.
- This is sort of my life. (No offense, boyfriend. Acceptance is key.)
- Nick Gillespie thinks your arguments against the knowledge problem are dumb. And they are. They are.
- Hurray, humskooling!
- Here is a reason — one among many — to legalize prostitution.
- Bigfoot huntin’.
- Thieving Maine hermit sort of tells his tale to a GQ writer.
George Jones is going to burn down all your favored socializing spots.
- Here is my most recent VICE Bad Cop Blotter, in which I rant about the decriminalization of childhood.
- Here is my most recent Rare piece, which is about the death penalty. Compare and contrast with my Antiwar piece on the same topic, and please note the same breed of moronic, I didn’t read it but I am angry anyway commenters ([whisper] I miss you Hit and Run. Except Tony [tears]).
- My latest Antiwar piece was about the fight for journalism drones, and in it I fully admit my urge to Luddite scream when I think about domestic drones. So something for the techies AND the Amish! (Okay, not really.)
- P.S. Antiwar is doing another fund drive, so if you want to donate to a lovely site that lets me write just about whatever I like, and also has been consistently antiwar since the days of Clinton, please consider doing so.
- Another thing you could do — if you are anywhere near Princeton, New Jersey — is go see Bill Steigerwald (dad, occasional Stag Blog contributor) and his friend Ethan Casey, also an author and traveler, go talk about their books on Thursday at the Princeton Library. Go see them at 7 pm, May 15.
- (I’ll be busy seeing Willie Watson on that date, though. Because, obviously.)
- And hey, since there’s a proper hook and everything, maybe go buy dad’s Dogging Steinbeck book, which is full of ruminations on truth, America, literature, politics, and basically everything interesting in the whole wide world.
- Ethan Casey also has books about his travels in Pakistan, Haiti, and America.
- I’ve recently started almost-hate-reading the blog Saving Country Music — something about its style is so self-aggrandizing, hipster-country, that it drives me nuts. Also, the dude was down on Old Crow Medicine Show’s authenticity, which is something I cannot abide if you’re going to do it half-assed like that. Nevertheless, the dude did do a fine review of the new Willie Watson album. (And yet I still argued in the comments at 2 am.)
- Tech Dirt on the FOIA-ed emails that reveal the full scope of the pathetic, creepy person that is Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. Background on the insanity here and here.
- Denis Lawson, AKA Wedge Antilles, the Rebel pilot who defies the red shirt curse (wrong Star, I know) will not be in the new trilogy because he’s more into being a cool, under the radar Scottish dude. Or something. I shed a conflicted tear, because I hate J.J. Abrams as a director, I hate every Star Wars after Jedi, and I am therefore not even sure I want the original trio in a new movie. But at the same time, George Lucas has been so terrible for so long that there’s almost a “fuck it, I don’t care, let’s see what these sequels are like” feeling that is appearing at last. (Or — OR — I still have a lingering belief that the addition of Harrison Ford will somehow make it all okay again.)
- Via Jesse Walker, a beautiful demonstration of the power of correlation, not causation.
- The DOJ might be secretly pushing banks to shut down the accounts of porn stars and other disreputable folk. Very creepy articles that makes one want to bury gold in the backyard.
- Jezebel commenters delight in story of homeschool girl kicked out of her prom because the dads wouldn’t stop leering at her. This is offered up as reason that “the homschooling community” is untrustworthy” and why you shouldn’t be allowed to homeschool without a teacher’s certificate. Okay then. In my day, homeschool prom was just a special place where rap songs are edited to a hilarious extent and people play Christian rock versions of “I’m a Believer” by the Monkees. In a world, awkward and terrible, but not this gross. I think there was some praying as well, but I tuned that out.
- The confusing and racist origin of the ice cream truck song.
- High heels are totally dumb and unfeminist (yeah, I said it, eat it third wavers). But Collectors Weekly has a fascinating look at their origins, as well as that of the corset, which is not great for you, but is not quite the iron maiden we’ve been lead to believe.
- People are still being suspended for not saying or standing for the Pledge? Conservatives, let this shit go. Even ignoring the “under God” kerfuffle, this is a piece of socialist propaganda written by the cousin of the writer of the worst fucking Utopian novel in the universe. You know it’s creepy for children to be saying loyalty oaths in public schools, you know it’s unamerican. Let. It. Go.
Done, here’s the video of the day:
Can’t stop listening to this song. Can’t.
Oh, and bonus new Old Crow Medicine Show (sorry, Willie) song! Like “Wagon Wheel” it is actually a finished version of an old Bob Dylan sketch.
I look forward to Darius Rucker’s cover come 2023.
Behold the third column under “The War at Home” banner. It is about how drones are very scary, but also maybe we shouldn’t just flail and ban them as fast as possible.
As the weekly – sometimes daily – news stories never tire of telling us, domestic drones are coming. And as ABC News reported on March 17, they are arriving faster than the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) can suss out the rules over their use. Though it’s technically illegal, and the FAA may issue fines if they catch you, ABC reports that commercial use of drones is starting to happen whether or not the government approves – as long as it doesn’t notice.
In February, the FAA sent a cease and desist letter to the Lakemaid Brewing Company – the beer makers may not use drones to send ice fishermen a six-pack of cold ones. Even for such a charming purpose, their commercial use is banned at least until 2015, when the FAA will issue rules on drone integration into U.S. airspace. The FAA is also currently appealing a judge’s decision rejecting the $10,000 fine it tried to levy against a Virginia filmmaker for unauthorized drone flights. At this point, the US is actually trailing far behind the rest of the world in terms of domestic drones – we’re skittish about their dystopian potential, and our privacy laws are (relatively) strong compared to some.
The rest here
According to investigative journalists Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill—writing today in their shiny new online publication, the Intercept—the NSA locates targets for drone strikes by using metadata and tracking the coordinates of cards and cellphones. The article goes on to note that using these sources instead of intelligence gathered from humans on the ground makes it more likely that these strikes will kill innocent people.
Scahill and Greenwald based their report on documents released by Edward Snowden, as well as former Air Force drone operator Brandon Bryant, who’s now a critic of drone strikes, and another former drone operator employed by the military’s Joint Special Operations Command, who says he worked with the NSA. According to the Intercept piece, some targets are aware they are being tracked and will switch cell phones or SIM cards to confuse their targeters. Others, less savvy, have cluelessly given their phones to family members, which leads to a Hellfire missile hitting someone, though not necessarily a terrorist.
The rest, and Monday’s Bad Cop Blotter items here
Airplanes have been used to rain death down onto hundreds of thousands of people in their 100-odd years of existence. They also changed the way that people travel. A six month wagon trip turned into a three day train trip turns into a six hour plane flight. That’s airplanes, a morally neutral technology that is both mankind’s greatest dream (flying! like the birds!) and a great tool for his stupidest God damn habit (killing people).
Drones are not as obviously useful as airplanes, since they are not for ferrying humans across countries, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have real purpose. Their defenders are right — drones can be used for film-making, search and rescue, crop-dusting, perhaps even war journalism. But people who confuse the technology with the dead Pakistani children, or with a lying government are forgiven for being unable or unwilling to remember that it’s not the drones themselves that are the problem (mostly, the tech is new…). The killing, the surveillance the lobbyists (yep), and the uneven application in the law is and will remain the bigger problem with drones. But they will not be un-invented, so what now?
The rest here.
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