Friday, March 30, 2007

"I will kill you with my mind. ... Stand still!"


Saturday, March 24, 2007

No shit, ya think?

And really, do you need a study for that one? It's kind of obvious to anyone with an internet connection, an inclination to wonder if we're being fed obscene quantities of bullshit and the google.

HOW THE FUCK IS THIS NEWS?! Four hundred THOUSAND people in the United States die every year from cigarettes alone. Meanwhile, research indicates that cannabinoids retard cancer growth.

"The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health."

     the British medical journal Lancet, 1995

"I do this real moron thing, it's called thinking, and I'm not a very good Amercian because I like to form my own opinions."

     George Carlin ("Jammin' in New York")

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Photography is protected by the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. It also happens to be protected by the 16th Article of the Massachusetts Constitution. Nobody in their right mind would entertain the idea of applying for a permit to associate with their friends. Not in America. At least not yet.

For the same reason, I did not apply for an application to take photographs on the MBTA. It's a civil right. It's already mine.

After being stopped and interrogated by MBTA police for photography in the subway last month, after weeks of hounding the MBTA to actually disclose, in writing, what their policy IS on photography on the subway without a permit, after a dozen (or so) unanswered emails and about as many unreturned phone calls, this morning I spoke to Mary Logalbo, an MBTA lawyer. She specializes in Constitutional law.

Apparently Mrs. Logalbo obtained permission from the MBTA Deputy Police Chief Paul MacMillan to fax me a DRAFT COPY of their photography policy. It expressly allows amateur photography on the MBTA but requires that you provide ID upon request, photography of the subject cannot pose a security risk, the activity of shooting cannot disrupt MBTA operations and the pictures must be for strictly non-commercial use only.

No more background check.

No more one-month expiration.

John Reinstein and the ACLU deserve a lot of credit for forcing the MBTA to reconsider the policy and put it on legally defensible footing. Note the "original issue date" of 2006 -- this policy was likely written in response to Reinstein's letter to MBTA Police Chief Joseph Carter in June of that year. All my yapping did, I suspect, is get me a copy of the draft before anyone else.

You can find a copy of the draft policy here.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

One of my photographs is being used by a Boston University a capella group, the Dear Abbeys. The person putting together the art was nice enough to drop me a note on Flickr:

...your photo will most likely be used on the inner pages of the insert. ... Our albums typically sell a few thousand copies so your work will be seen by many.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Randy Couture has always been my favorite UFC fighter because he doesn't talk shit, he just shows up and (usually) kicks a lot of ass. And that time Couture (literally) spanked Ortiz for all the yapping he did pre-match didn't hurt his cause any.

But ...last I knew he retired. I just watched his UFC 68 fight vs. Syliva fight.

Holy crahp.


So yeah, McCain wants to be a strict constructionist on the Constitution.

But let's go back in time to June of 2005; Raich v. Ashcroft before the Supreme Court.

Raich argues that the Constitution specifically states that the powers not granted to the federal government belong to the state and while one of those rights enumerated is the ability to control interstate commerce, it says nothing at all about intrastate commerce. And it's under the guise of regulating interstate commerce that the federal government outlaws marijuana.

But Raich grows it herself. The government has no authority, Raich argues, since there is no interstate commerce involved.

This is the part where you should sit down because if you didn't already know, you're going to think I'm making this shit up.

The government argues that if people are allowed to grow it themselves, then marijuana consumers won't have to buy it from drug dealers. Nevermind the pesky little detail that this a thing the governmen spends billions trying to accomplish themselves. So if Raich et al don't have to buy it from the street, demand will naturally go down. If the demand goes down, the price will go down and since the market affected is the illegal drug market, which in turn takes place largely across state lines, the government claims this gives it the purview to regulate home-grown cannabis.

Clear as mud, right? No, the Supreme Court thinks this is a perfectly rational line of thought.

But wait, it gets better.

This hearkens back to Wickard v. Filburn in which a farmer argued that the wheat which his family consumed was not taxible since it wasn't sold and therefore didn't qualify as interstate commerce. The government argued that since he wasn't buying it on the open market, the action was indeed affecting prices. And by that same contorted mental judo, concluded their right to tax a snail fart if that odor drifted into another state.

Just to be clear, Justice Antonin Scalia -- a loyal Conservative who once said "I always used to laugh at Wickard" -- voted with the majority in Raich v. Ashcroft.

So would it be too much to expect our free, predictable, incompetent and feckless media to ask McCain a simple question? "If you're for a more strict interpretation of the Constitution when it comes to abortion, would you also be for a strict interpretation on the government's regulation of marijuana that could not ...regardless of how stoned you might make yourself understood as 'interstate?'"


Friday, March 09, 2007

Newt Gingrich doesn't see himself as a hypocrite for leading the Republican mob against Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal while engaging in an extramarital affair at the same time.

"The president of the United States got in trouble for committing a felony in front of a sitting federal judge," the former Georgia congressman said of Clinton's 1998 House impeachment on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. "I drew a line in my mind that said, 'Even though I run the risk of being deeply embarrassed, and even though at a purely personal level I am not rendering judgment on another human being, as a leader of the government trying to uphold the rule of law, I have no choice except to move forward and say that you cannot accept ... perjury in your highest officials."

OK, I get it. Man's laws are sacrosanct. God's laws, not so much...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New launched tonight. Feedback welcome.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

On February 27th, I was stopped by MBTA (Boston subway) staff and told that it is illegal to take photographgs. The police were called, I was told it is a "federal crime" to take pictures on the subways, my notebook was seized without being under arrest and finally, I was informed that asking for the employee information of the MBTA staff who stopped me was "reasonable suspicion" to compel me to provide my ID on upon demand.

(Wrong, wrong and wrong.)

If you want a slightly more verbose version, head here. If I know you personally, email me, I'll send the detailed transcript.

Suffice it to say (a) the ACLU has told the MBTA to knock it off before, (b) they intend to proceed with a lawsuit and (c) I might be the person bringing the lawsuit.

While I'm not a lawyer, my specific incident has a lot of things going for it. It happened almost entirely in the Havard station atrium which is brimming with cameras, I kept my cool the entire time, I did not get arrested, there were witnesses and I was told repeatedly that photography on the subways is illegal.

What's really confused me is the number of people I've encountered who think that a no-photography policy in the subway actually makes sense. Three points.

• A camera merely collects light. It doesn't see what you and I cannot so if it's within public view, it's within view. From a tactical perspective, my camera doesn't see anything a person with criminal intent and a reasonable memory wouldn't.

• With 1.3 MP cameraphones being ubiquitous today, what makes anyone but a fool think that we can actually stop photography?

• Finally, for the "things have changed since 9/11 crowd," a simple phrase essential to our country seems to have been forgotten; "Give me liberty or give me death!"

What these words mean is that there are things worse than dying. A loss of liberty is one of them.