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02/05/2003 Archived Entry: "Snowed in"

On the Political Front:

A brief break from monitoring the imminent war with Iraq and on to civil liberties instead... Alexander Cockburn -- one of my fav commentators despite the fact that he leans to the left on a slew of issues -- co-edits a dynamite political newsletter, CounterPunch.

I particularly admire Cockburn's analysis of the latest drug travesty in the current article "US Judge Railroads Ed Rosenthal in Fed's War on Medical Marijuana; Pee-Wee, Townshend and Ritter: the Sex Police at Work." Rosenthal has been convicted to a possible life sentence for growing medicinal marijuana. Cockburn writes, "Within hours of finding famed marijuana expert Ed Rosenthal guilty on three felony counts of conspiracy and marijuana cultivation, a sobbing juror was overheard saying she and others jurors had been terrified that US District Judge Charles Breyer would throw them in prison if they had found Rosenthal innocent, although she herself had had a strong disposition to do so.... Breyer had refused all efforts by the defense to disclose to the jury that Rosenthal was growing marijuana as an 'officer' for the City of Oakland's medical marijuana program, authorized under California's Proposition 215, passed by the voters in 1996."

Meanwhile, American Airlines is reporting a precarious financial situation and calling for "an urgent reduction in wages and reform of work rules" in order to save $1.8bn a year. American is reportedly losing about $5m a day. Here's a clue on how to make more money. Start treating passengers like customers rather than like police suspects. Stop making the violation of their civil rights part of the cost of a ticket.

On the Personal Front:

Snow squalls, freezing rain, and glare ice -- the combination over the last day or so has kept us happily isolated from real contact with the world. We kept a fire going and indulged ourselves by taking the day off, sating ourselves on roasted chicken and homemade pasta, watching movies. One was a light but charming flick entitled "Get Over It" that reminded me of equally enjoyable "10 Things I Hate About You" not only in its setting and tone but also in its attempt to update a Shakespearean theme.

Bill Bradford, editor and publisher of Liberty magazine, offers a sneak contents-preview of the March issue. "Our lead feature is Chip Pittšs expose of the Bush administrationšs plan to accumulate data from credit card usage, cell phone usage (did you know they now all have GPS receivers and transmit your location whenever you call to your cell provider, who turns the data over to the feds?), pictures of you taken by security cameras in public areas, and just about every other form of personal data, into a dossier so it can identify suspicious people? Pitts does a fantastic job on the story, which I think is one of the most important pieces we've ever run." Also included is a piece by Brink Lindsey -- "Am I a Libertarian?", Bill's discussion of the relationship between the Mises Institute and Mises, and "a delightful jape from David Ramsay Steele". As a pirvacy zealot, I am particularly looking forward to the Pitt's article. Subscribe now!

Best to all,

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