URLs du Jour



  • Our lead story is brought to our attention by my local newspaper, Foster's Daily Democrat: NH recalls mom's 'PB4WEGO' license plate.

    A common parental phrase has landed a Gonic mother in warm water with the state Department of Motor Vehicles over her vanity license plate.

    The state has asked Lilac City Grille bartender Wendy Auger to turn in her 15-year-old plate reading “PB4WEGO,” which stands for “pee before we go,” because phrases related to excretory acts aren’t permitted.

    Auger is fighting it, filing an appeal for the recall because she believes it’s a free speech issue and that the phrase isn’t offensive.

    And of course:

    Auger questioned why her plate was targeted, as she said she’s never received or heard any complaints. Since Auger recently posted about the plate on Facebook, many have voiced support for her while pointing out the recall seems incongruent with the state “Live Free Or Die” motto printed just below her plate’s banned phrase.

    A number of observations and comments come to mind.

    • I do not have a vanity license plate, and have no plans to get one. But if I did, I think it would be "UPTOME". To outward appearances, a straightforward acceptance of personal responsibility.

      But I (and also you, now) would know the truth. It would actually stand for "Urinate Prior To Our Mobile Excursion".

    • What is it with Rochester anyway? It was also the breeding ground for Chaplinsky v. State of New Hampshire, the Supreme Court case giving rise to the infamous "fighting words" exception to the First Amendment. (It's currently doubtful whether that's established precedent.)

    • And our license plates were also at issue in another famous Supreme case, Wooley v. Maynard, where the ruling judged it acceptable to obscure the "Live Free or Die" motto on your tags, if that was the way you felt about it. (Like Chaplinsky, the LFOD-obscurer Maynard was a Jehovah's Witness. But he didn't live in Rochester.)

    • At Granite Grok, Christopher Maidment has more on the fraught legal history of NH license plates.

    • I for one am (puts on sunglasses) ... pissed.

  • Power Line's Steven Hayward bids farewell to an admirable conservative/libertarian moneybags: David Koch, RIP. And (almost an aside) provides how deeply in the partisan tank the New York Times has sunk. Because their obit contained:

    Three decades after David Koch’s public steps into politics, analysts say, the Koch brothers’ money-fueled brand of libertarianism helped give rise to the Tea Party movement, strengthened the far-right wing of a resurgent Republican Party and played a significant role in the election of Donald J. Trump as president in 2016.

    No need to match that up with reality! The NYT's new motto: All the news that fits… the statist narrative.


    Typical. The Kochs hated Trump in 2016, opposed him vigorously throughout the entire nomination process (Vanity Fair ran a story in February 2016 entitled “Can the Koch Brothers Stop Trump?“), and have said more recently they are open to supporting Democrats in part because of their continuing dislike of Trump. But never mind: for the Times, everything has to come back to Trump (and racism).

    The obit has since been corrected, but its clear the NYT prioritizes sliming its political enemies over fact-checking.

  • At Reason, Peter Suderman tallies up The Price of an Erratic President.

    Perhaps the strangest thing about the story that President Donald Trump has expressed interest in using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes was that it didn't seem all that strange. Almost no one thought to ask "Can you believe it?" because almost everyone automatically did, while simultaneously acknowledging that in reality, no such intervention would be tried.

    So instead of sustained incredulity, there were jokes, and a few #WellActuallys, and eventually Trump himself declared that the story was fake news. But for the most part, the story, first reported by Axios, came and went with the daily tides of Twitter conversation. Trump wants to deploy nuclear weapons to stop summer storms? Wild stuff! 2019, right? Moving on.

    One way to understand this is as a basically healthy reaction to the brainfarts of a particularly brainfart-prone president, one who thinks out loud—or online—and who indulges a variety of odd obsessions that rarely become actual policy. Both in public and in private, Trump has a habit of floating half-baked bad ideas that are unlikely to ever be implemented. For many people, constantly worrying about the small chance that they one day might happen is simply too exhausting to keep up.

    Attention pundits: a pretty good way to get a Pun Salad link to your content is to use the word "brainfart" as much as possible.

  • OK, we had our first LFOD article right up top today, but there's a couple I bet you missed. For example, this one from KPCW, the Commie Radio station in Park City, Utah: Show And Tell: On 'Lover,' Taylor Swift Lets Listeners In On Her Own Terms.

    For people who don't care about this stuff: "Lover" is the title of Taylor Swift's new album.

    For people who care even less about this stuff: Taylor Swift is an immensely popular American musician.

    The narrators of Lover sound like they've done a lot of thinking; some even have a self-accepting sense of humor. On the first verse of the album's title track, Swift, who likely sees herself as planned and deliberate to a fault, is going to live free or die (we all contain multitudes), hilariously insisting she and her romantic interest "can leave the Christmas lights up 'til January" (holiday cheer for an extra couple weeks at most in this lawless home). This song did not grab me on first listen. But its gentle snare slap (possibly my favorite sound on the entire record) called me back again and again, until I realized it has now become one of my favorites in her catalog of perfect pop romance. That bridge! Those girl group harmonies! Swift's songs are "relatable," but not about realism. "Lover" sounds like the fantasy happily-ever-after many of her songs' narrators have always wanted to inhabit.

    The war on drugs has been lost when all indications point to highly potent marijuana being easily available to NPR writers in Park City Utah.

  • In more local news, Manchester Ink Link reports There's a new Porcupine in town: Libertarian National Committee chair moves to Manchester from Arizona. The Chair is Nicholas Sarwark, accompanied by his wife and four kids.

    “New Hampshire really is the Live Free or Die state. The love of liberty and of neighbor-helping-neighbor goes back to our foundations. We’re proud to welcome the Chairman of the National Libertarian Party, the party of principle and liberty, to the Granite State. We’re looking forward to working together with Nick to keep New Hampshire an inspiration of freedom for the rest of the country,” said [Chair of the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire Brian] Sheilds.

    Welcome, Nick! I hope the DMV's no-excretory-references vanity plate policy doesn't persuade you that you made a bad mistake.