Sunday, June 20, 2010

Would the Founding Fathers join the Tea Party?

Alexander Hamilton: "An enlightened zeal for the energy and efficiency of government will be stigmatized as the offspring of a temper fond of despotic power and hostile to the principles of liberty."

Sounds applicable to our times.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tim Pawlenty vs. The Bong Monster

Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota and rumored 2012 hopeful, has finally convinced me that it is always, always, always a bad idea to vote for Republicans. Because it turns out that even the ones who can give the appearance of being reasonable, thinking people will quickly disappoint and then horrify you.

So I'm watching his interview on The Daily Show, and John Stewart (for no reason that I was aware of) starts making bong water jokes. I wasn't aware of the backstory on this. But it turns out that, in Minnesota they classify bong water as a controlled substance, so that law enforcement can vastly inflate the charges that they bring against citizens.

In other words, Governor Tim "Common Sense" Pawlenty thinks that a law written to apply to a guy trundling around two pounds of marijuana -- no, officer, that's not my colon -- should equally apply to a guy with one ounce of marijuana and thirty-one ounces that he would have poured down the sink if he ever got around to cleaning out his apartment.

In his "defense", Pawlenty said that the law usually didn't get enforced that way. Instead, law enforcement only uses the law when they need to put someone behind bars. Which should make you feel warm and fuzzy all over if you believe that cops are always fair-minded, objective, uncorruptable, and in possession of certain knowledge of who belongs in jail and who should go free.

For those of us with a firmer grasp on reality, the thought is chilling. In the interview, the governor expressly endorsed a law enforcement practice whereby the police, unable to marshal evidence for the crimes they believe a suspect is in jail for, can levy huge penalties against the suspect for a minor offense, and thereby get the "justice" they feel the suspect deserves.

This would almost be funny, if the practice didn't mean ordinary citizens are rotting in jail on the basis of laws that were meant to deal with large-scale distributors. Pawlenty himself apparently thinks it's a riot. The letter he sent back to the legislature along with his veto was nothing but a one-paragraph setup for a bong water pun.