Asset forfeiture: reason number 637 why the war on drugs is ethically and economically ruinous

Asset forfeiture is when a police officer takes a person’s property after arrest, without ever charging that person with a crime.

Poor and minority populations have to live in fear of having their cash and cars stolen, while the promise of cars and cash incentivizes police to make illegitimate arrests.

When a community learns to expect victimization by its protectors, it learns it has no refuge from victimization by anyone.

If your own arrest is more likely than an investigation of the crime you’re reporting, you learn not call for help. This is a huge part of why poor and minority communities are unrelentingly ravaged by crime.

In addition to eroding relations between poor and minority populations and law enforcement, asset forfeiture denies our most disadvantaged communities due process.

Inspector General’s New Asset Forfeiture Report Reveals DOJ Is Now Just Robbing Americans

Roughly 86 percent of the instances in which the government took cash, computers, cars, homes, life savings, investments, property or other assets, it did so without approval from a judge, a verdict from a jury, or any meaningful form of due process.

All this is why asset forfeiture is reason number 637 why the war on drugs is ethically and economically ruinous.

And it’s reason number 637 the victims of asset forfeiture need to be able to Call420.

P.S. If you or someone you know is a victim, read this.

Photo by Elvert Barnes.

Hey Chicago Public School Teachers, Please Don’t Come Back

When I am, by any possible measure, utterly failing at work I will sometimes refuse to show up, leaving everyone in a lurch, until I get not just the 4% pay raise I was promised regardless of my performance, but the 30% raise I believe I’m due.

Wait. Actually if I tried that I would be immediately fired. Because I am not a  Chicago public school teacher.

Despite the Chicago Public School system earning a 3/10 rating on, and despite being promised a 4% raise the middle of the worst recession I have ever lived through, thousands of children are without instruction and thousands of parents are left to scramble for childcare in Chicago.

Education came up a lot during last week’s DNC. And for a party that talks such a big game about equal opportunity, America’s public schools should be a focus. Unfortunately, no one really talked about the reality that — here I’ll paraphrase a line from Condi’s RNC speech — in America you can predict whether a child goes to college based on his or her zip code. So much for equal opportunity.

The DNC speechmakers did mention multiple times Obama’s record of “supporting public school teachers.” And if by “supporting” the speakers meant “giving in to,” I’d say that’s accurate.

Sadly, “supporting public school teachers” often means fucking public school students. How else would you describe Obama’s decision to eliminate the immensely popular and successful DC voucher program?

And now, as Jezebel puts it, “local organizations are holding activities in places like churches and non profits so public school students aren’t just messing around.” Way to go private sector filling in the space left by teachers unions.

But ironically, I’d call this a step in the right direction. Considering that private school tuition ranges in Chicago from $2,850-$35,906 per student per year while the city spends $21,024 per student per year, to produce a far, far shittier result, I would beg the striking Chicago teachers to never, ever come back.

Even granting that it probably requires more resources to get the same results for the average Chicago’s public school kid as the average private school kid, it probably doesn’t require tens more thousands of dollars per student per year.

No, the ability of private schools to offer a better product at a lower price can be at least partly attributed to the fact that when private school teachers do a shitty job and then refuse to come back until they get a huge raise, they get fired.

Let’s stop allowing our elected officials to “support public school teachers” at the expense of our society’s most vulnerable population.

Photo by Capitalism Institute.

90 Days, 90 attempts to absolve the president of warmongering in Libya


Here’s reason 24:


President Obama proceeded wisely, in allowing the U.S. to be a key player in a multi-national effort to support the rebels without committing to American air strikes or the deployment of American troops on the ground. He demonstrated his understanding that the world has changed. The U.S. can no longer afford to be the global policeman. It is neither wise nor necessary for America to carry the burden alone for other nations in order to play a leadership role.

My rewrite:

Today’s reason:

President Obama proceeded unwisely, in allowing the U.S. to be a key player in a multi-national effort to support the rebels kill civilians and fund regime change without while committing to American air strikes or and the deployment of American troops on the ground. He demonstrated his total lack of understanding that the world has changed. The U.S. can no longer afford to be the global policeman. It is neither wise nor necessary for America to carry the burden alone at all for other nations in order to play a leadership role in invading other countries, killing their leaders and converting them to Democracy.

Nice try attempting to absolve Obama of responsibility for blatantly illegal and unwise foreign interventionism by blaming NATO, Khaled Hosseini. But since the US is NATO’s biggest funder and influencer  that doesn’t actually work.


What the AnCap girl’s been up to and thoughts on the RNC

So I just finished filming my first sitcom pilot. Rob Raffety is creating an 8-minute digital short that’s an entry to a Samsung contest where the winner gets cash to film a whole series. I play a Capitol Hill intern. I’m in two scenes and have lines in both. Super stoked to see this puppy edited. Will embed once it’s on YouTube.

I also got a guest post published at the America’s Future Foundation blog: Writing headlines that get traffic: What I’m learning at Reason magazine.

And last week I live-Tweeted the Republican National Convention. I got my tweets included in Reason staff tweets, so that was really cool. I also made it to the Reason staff page! Here I am:

The RNC was interesting. It was actually the first one I’d seen, despite spending most of my life as a Republican. As a marketer, I have to give mad props to them bringing out the people Romney personally helped as part of his church work. The story of him folding laundry grew my cold little AnCap heart three sizes. Seriously, though. That’s how people make decisions. Whether they realize it or not. Brilliant. I rationally know that whether Romney or Obama is the kind of person who will get in there and actually help people on the ground when they need it, or the kind of person who will call themselves a “community organizer” as their main profession for years, but be unable to find one person he helped in that role, either way it has no bearing on their likelihood of murdering American citizens abroad and launching illegal, immoral wars while throwing medical marijuana patients in federal prison. I mean, Obama has done all that and more, but Romney has given me not one shred of evidence that he’ll be any different.

So that was interesting. I also LOVED, unironically, not from a marketing standpoint, but just unabashedly loved Condi’s speech where she shouted out school choice and indicted the current system by pointing out that she can tell whether a child will go to college based on their zip code. Then she said this:

And on a personal note– a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham – the most segregated big city in America – her parents can’t take her to a movie theater or a restaurant – but they make her believe that even though she can’t have a hamburger at the Woolworth’s lunch counter – she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State.

Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect.

Read more:

Chillage, homes. Chillage.

I’ll analyze the news next week.