Criminal Justice

There's a Special Place in Hell for Those Who Subpoena Internet Comments

Also, please watch Matt Welch Sunday at 11 a.m. ET on CNN's Reliable Sources

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[The most obvious alt-text joke of all time goes here] |||

I have a new op-ed out in the Los Angeles Times explaining and declaiming the recent unpleasantness Reason.com and our commenters experienced at the hands of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Here's how it begins:

If you have dipped a toe into the fetid swamps of online political debate, chances are you have encountered — maybe even authored — acerbic one-liners like, "There is a special place in hell for that so-and-so _______!" (fill in the blank with your least-favorite public official's name).

Despite its literary origins in Dante's "Inferno," the special-place-in-hell formulation is admittedly juvenile and disproportionate, which is probably why Teddy Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy liked to use versions of it so much. (Here's JFK's: "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.")

Online, it's everywhere. No. 3 on Buzzfeed's 2014 list of "55 Things That Deserve a Special Place in Hell" is John Travolta's wig. Reddit's 2014 string asking, "Which people have a 'special place in hell' waiting for them?" had, as of Wednesday, 7,857 suggestions. The meme is more common than Nigerian email scams, and considerably less dangerous.

Unless, that is, you think like the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York

Some of the conclusion:

Gag orders are un-American and should be applied only as a last resort, not as a boilerplate action rubber-stamped by a judge. Grand juries, which were originally designed as checks on government power, have devolved into investigative instruments for harassing commenters and websites that have committed no crimes.

Please read the whole thing here. Then at 11 a.m ET Sunday, tune into CNN's Reliable Sources to see me talking more about this case.

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  1. Reddit IS hell. Thanks for not insulting everybody Matt! We love you best!

    1. Reddit is a bunch of teenagers and early 20s nerds seeking prestige.

      Unlike Reason, which features a significantly older and more experienced class of nerd seeking prestige.

      1. I am taking valuable time away from polishing my hat tips to protest your spurious allegations upon the commenters on this site!

        For Shame!

        1. Special place in hell? I was under the impression it was wood chippers first. Then hell.

  2. Despite its literary origins in Dante’s “Inferno,” the special-place-in-hell formulation is admittedly juvenile and disproportionate,

    Admitted by whom?

    To be fair, not all of the Reason 6’s comments on Judge Forrest fall into the “special place in hell” category; some were much worse: “Its [sic] judges like these that should be taken out back and shot.” And: “Why waste ammunition? Wood chippers get the message across clearly. Especially if you feed them in feet first.” There’s no defending these sentiments. But ask yourself this: How realistic is the notion that an anonymous Internet commenter would kidnap Forrest and head for the wood chipper?

    Why not?

    1. Yeah, I thought the same thing. I would not defend “I am going to…” or “Let’s…” statements, but “People like that should be…” statements are clearly not real threats.

      Every time I see the name “Niketh Velamoor” I think of shoes for Muslim cyclists who lisp.

    2. Admitted by whom?

      It’s obvious that this is tongue in cheek after reading the next paragraph.

      1. Are you sure? Juvenile and disproportionate are exactly how I would describe both Teddy Roosevelt and JFK.

    3. My trailer hitch is broken.

    4. If we can’t signal our displeasure with uncouth comments, then what can we do?

      1. I think we are then left to operating our woodchippers.

      2. I think we still have rude hand gestures. We could try biting our thumbs at Federal Judges and see how many judges have read Romeo and Juliet.

    5. Admitted by whom?

      Admitted by those who have to, without fail, throw in some kind of self-exculpatory clause every single time they defend free speech. Because we have to assume all readers are as stupid as the stupidest ones, I guess.

    6. I think you make his point for him that these statements are nothing but bluster and hyperbole.

      1. But neither juvenile nor disproportionate. Let’s keep in mind people were discussing a willful decision to functionally end somebodies life.

        1. Yes, a judge misused his power to ruin somebody’s life, and the serfs who are outraged are the ones being investigated and called out for being inappropriate.

        2. Ugh, no they were not.

    7. If you have dipped your toe into the swamps of controversy on the Internet, you have undoubtedly also encountered the kinds of discourse listed here:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpr…..rsonation/

      and now criminalized in New York over the dissenting opinion (on “First Amendment” grounds) of a single liberal judge. So I would assert again that the menacing statements posted on Reason were not mere unrealistic hyperbole, any more than the criminally deceitful emails sent by a “satirist” in New York were mere poor efforts at parody or blustery expressions of anger. See, again, the documentation of America’s leading criminal satire case at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      And, lest the point of my remark be misunderstood, I believe it is worth reminding “freedom of speech” bloggers like Popehat and Volokh (and Gillespie and Welch and all the others) that when we don’t stand up for everyone’s rights, we should not be surprised when our own rights end up getting trampled on with big black boots.

      1. “lest the point of my remark be misunderstood”

        Shameless, self-important blog-pimping?

        beyond that, it seems like you’re trying to lump all kind of different stuff together under the label of “impersonation”, and waffle pedantically about its legal ramifications.

        1. On the contrary ? lest I be misunderstood ? it’s the editors of Reason who ignominiously waffle, lumping legal criticism and illegal threats together under the label “comments.” Shame on you, Blowhard, for misunderstanding! I would have at ye with my spear for lacking politesse and treating me as a pimp.

          1. “” illegal threats””

            to constitute illegal “true threats” internet comments would have to meet specific criteria the specific things in question weren’t even remotely close to. Its you who is arbitrarily lumping things together.

            take your pompous bullshit elsewhere. no one is impressed.

      2. There were no threats there, jackass.

        1. But of course there were threats. Reason’s argument is merely that the threats were not meant to be taken seriously, that it was mere “hyperbole.” That would seem to be an issue for a jury to decide, just like the issue of the “satirical” or “comic” intent of someone who sends out tweets under the “name” of a university president. Let’s not be hypocritical.

          Incidentally, the idiot Montesquieu had the gall to argue that satire is not criminalized in democracies because it gives the rabble an opportunity to “vent,” and because the meaning of words can change even with the way they’re pronounced. But today most of us have the good sense to realize that inappropriately deadpan parodies as well as inappropriately threatening comments cross the line into criminality. Only a single dissenting judge in that case, and the “First Amendment” community has wisely avoided discussing his silly claim that criminalizing email impersonation allegedly harmful to a reputation is “an atavism at odds with the First Amendment and the free and uninhibited exchange of ideas it is meant to foster.”

          1. Which comment was a legal threat?

            1. I’m sure he’ll respond with “That’s for a jury to decide,” while ignoring that the only reason a jury will have to decide it is because some fuckhead whose job it is to ruin peoples’ lives decided to try to ruin a few more.

              1. Popehat is a First Amendment lawyer =

                In Elonis v. U.S….the Court decided that to be a “true threat” in violation of Section 875, the speaker must have some level of knowledge or intent that the hearer will take the threat seriously.

                “True Threats” are those threats that are outside the protection of the First Amendment; they are not mere political hyperbole or bluster. …

                What of these comments on Reason.com, then? I submit that they are very clearly not true threats ? that this is not even a close call

                True threat analysis always examines context. Here, the context strongly weighs in favor of hyperbole. …

                The “threats” do not specify who is going to use violence, or when. They do not offer a plan, other than juvenile mouth-breathing about “wood chippers” and revolutionary firing squads. They do not contain any indication that any… commenters has the ability to carry out a threat. Nobody in the thread reacts to them as if they are serious. They are not directed to the judge by email or on a forum she is known to frequent…

                Therefore, even the one that is closest to a threat ? “It’s judges like these that will be taken out back and shot” isn’t a true threat. It lacks any of the factors that have led other courts to find that ill-wishes can be threats.
                …””

                1. As the Supreme Court’s opinion makes clear, it’s up to the jury, which has to explore the defendant’s intent to figure it out. Welcome to the American judicial “atavism,” which I’m sorry to say Popehat seems not to have entirely understood.

                  The “free speech” argument founders when it tries to confront the New York Court of Appeals’ decision in the case I’ve linked. That case (quoting from the website I linked earlier) involved a hoax in which an NYU department chairman was portrayed as admitting to the “minor failing” of plagiarism and as justifying it on the grounds that “if I had given credit to this man, I would have been banned from conferences around the world.”

                  Is that a “true,” i.e. credible, confession coming from an academic department chairman? I think the answer is plainly no; it is an act of parody. But it is up to the jury to decide the matter, and juries are known to get these things wrong from time to time. A pity, but that’s the way it goes, tough luck for the “free speech” crowd.

                  1. You called them threats, then claim its a matter for a jury to decide.

                    then they’re not threats until a jury has decided.

                    at face value, they don’t meet the bare minimum requirements

                    So fuck off and die in a fire.

                    1. They are indeed threats, and it is up to a jury to decide whether they are true threats, i.e., whether they were made with the intent that they be taken as such. If someone writes a “song” in which he threatens to kill someone, it is up to a jury to decide whether his intent was purely artistic or something far worse. Remember, neither good faith nor truth is a defense, so whoever does something like that should be prepared with some other kind of defense. The same is true for anyone who sends out email “parodies” that have the potential to harm the reputation of any well-connected members of the academic community. If the intent is only to cause momentary embarrassment, it’s not a crime. If it’s to harm a reputation, then it is a crime. A jury gets to decide. That’s the law in America today, so tough luck for Reason, unless they get enough good press to dissuade prosecutors from moving ahead with it.

          2. “I’m gonna rape you with a meteorite” is potentially a threat, that is clearly hyperbole.

            “You should be raped by meteorites” is in no way a threat, whatsoever.

            1. Yes, that all sounds very convincing, but comments like “it’s judges like this that will be taken out back and shot” do indeed sound like threats, and in a court of law, “neither good faith nor truth is a defense,” as the excellent New York criminal court judge in the case I’ve linked specifically ruled. See again the documentation, including that judicial ruling, at:

              https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

              It is of course true that the appellate courts (and, of course, the “First Amendment” bloggers) have carefully avoided addressing that ruling, but as much as this silence can leave room for online “debate” about the matter, it does not bode well for those who purvey insidious threats on sites like Reason.

  3. From the comments on the LA Times op-ed:

    yourinnerghost Rank 51

    The author is being completely disingenuous. Preet Bharara was not looing for an excuse to harass anonymous commenters and stifle the speech of political magazines.He was looking for some information on the insidious criminal enterprise,Silk Road.
    **

    I…*sigh*, forget it. Just, *sigh*, just forget it.

    1. That sounds very much like sarcasm.

      Badly spelled sarcasm which Nick Gillespie would overwhelm with (sic)s if he were to transcribe it, but sarcasm nonetheless.

      1. Poe’s Law is broken here. If you follow the link from the dude’s handle to read his commenting history, you’ll learn he is monomanically obsessed with drugs and Mexicans.

        And not in the good way.

        1. Mexicans pot and ass sex??

          1. As a motto, it should be in Latin.

            Mexicani, Cannabis, et pedicatum

            1. I’m SO stealing that Latin translation.

              1. ‘Twould make a resplendent motto for Libertopia.

            2. There you go talkin’ like a fag again.

          2. In other words, the good kind

    2. I think it’s obvious that the thinking was something like: “This judge has had real threats, so we’ll check out everyone online who has made anything even faintly resembling a threat. Hey, look at these six comments here! Round ’em all up.”

      1. Well I guess that’s consistant with the normal government response. Hey there are terrorist so we need intrusive surveillance on everyone. They used airplanes so we need to harrrass everyone who flies, except for anyone who might fit the profile of a terrorist because that would be racist.

        1. I love the smell of truth in the morning.

      2. You’re giving the government too much credit. I think it was something more like “we’re going to because we can.”

        1. TSMG is right on. I agree.

    3. .He was looking for some information on the insidious criminal enterprise,Silk Road.

      Then he should have been investigating the FBI agents who absconded with some of the goods, er, I mean evidence.

  4. “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.”

    Ah. This may explain my popularity with the crisis-mongers.

    I still feel like there should have been at least some vague, passing-reference to wood-chipping.

    As in, “the internet is a bountiful garden mulched with an endless supply of profane vituperation”

  5. What struck me as particularly weakening of this alleged threat was the “special” place in Hell. I mean, if I was going to Hell and got to opt for a special place there of my own design, well, that special place could be a fun way to pass the time.

    1. Well, that, and the fact that necromantic sorcery isn’t a crime in most American jurisdictions.

      1. Necromantic sorcerers are a protected class.

        1. If only they were, then 16.66667 percent of the Reason Six wouldn’t have the headache he currently has.

          1. Which of them still has the headache?

        2. Agree. The Supreme Court Justices (the only professional necromantic sorcerers in the US) are absolutely a protected class.

        3. What about professors of Post-Mortem Communication?

        4. Also a very nice band name.

      2. Necrophilic sorcerers.

        1. Say it 3 times and AgileCyborg will be summoned…

  6. I think Preet Bharara himself is posting in the LA Times comments section. I wish we could get a subpoena to find out.

    1. So I just googled Preet Bharara for the first time. Does anyone else think that he looks like the Indian Lindsey Graham? Also, his full first name is Preetinder?

      1. Are you there?
        Say a prayer
        For the Preetinder

        1. nick hornby writes about that song in “songbook”, which is really really good (and im really not a nick hornby fan)

        2. What if I say I’m not like the others?
          What if I say I’m not just another one of your plays?
          You’re the Preetinder.
          What if I say that I’ll never ever surrender?

      2. Oh yeah
        He’s the great Preetinder

        Preetinding that he’s not a clown…

  7. An interesting comment on the LA Times:

    I am not surprised by Bharara’s overreach here. I just hope those folks who posted don’t end up where Preet put me: PRISON. Preet is responsible for wrecking the lives of the innocent in his insider trading campaign that in nothing more than self-serving crusade to enable his political ambitions. My family was put through five years of pain because of insider trading charges against me that did not include one actual trade! My story is one you will rarely hear because most folks fold when faced by the overwhelming power of the government . I fought every step of the way and self-published a book about the whole experience from arrest to release so that people could understand the crimes of Preet and his cronies. http://www.inside-story-book.com

    If you look through any prosecutor who has climbed the rank’s background, you will find a lot of people whose lives were fucked up badly to further their career.

    This is what Reason should be digging up. And name the judge who signed off on this shit, for the love of god.

    1. Wow. Very possible. Prosecutors often want to be little crusaders and get elected to high office, and if there’s some collateral damage, well, that’s the price that must be paid for the Good of Society (and themselves).

    2. It’s been pointed out since this whole thing broke by some easy Googling that Bharara is a Big Game Player who has no hesitation to bring the hammer of federal prosecution down, and bring it down hard.

      He’s been admonished by judges for public comments he’s made and even hammered an Indian diplomat with a federal case for underpaying a nanny.

      This guy strikes me as the kind of high flier you’ll read about in ten years being found guilty of some sort of fraud or corruption.

      1. The “ten years from now” breaking news will be about him putting his dead underage sex slave through a woodchipper.

    3. Prosecutors are overwhelmingly sociopathic. They are the scum of the scum, the busted genes of the busted genes, the highest functioning of high-functioning monsters.

      My distrust of prosecutors has reached the point where discovering that someone who otherwise seems respectable and even useful (Ken White comes to mind) once worked as a prosecutor leads me to believe that he’s likely a sociopath who just happens to be on my side. I would rather have a chat with a spree killer than a prosecutor; at least with a spree killer you know where you stand and can defend yourself physically, whereas the prosecutor hides behind the three-felonies-a-day horseshit to persecute political and personal enemies.

      1. Sherlock Holmes: Oh, I may be on the side of the angels, but don’t think for one second that I am one of them.

    4. Reason really needs to pick up this guy’s story and run with it. And dig up Bharararara’s entire scummy history.

    5. “This is what Reason should be digging up. And name the judge who signed off on this shit, for the love of god.”

      Fabulous idea. Reason should dedicate considerable time to exposing this guy. Wouldn’t it be the most wonderful thing ever if Reason destroyed his career using truth as a weapon? Would that maybe create a chilling effect on other sociopath assholes climbing the federal ladder? I sure hope so. What do you say Nick? Maybe some investigation into this guys story is in order. There are probably other victims as well.

      We need to make examples of these people when given an opportunity.

      1. You assume anybody reads or cares what is said here. I, and I’m sure the editors as well, wish Reason had the power to do just this, but I don’t think for a minute that we have the pull to get anything resembling a chilling effect. Maybe more people read Reason than I assume, but I reckon the largest “chilling effect” this magazine would be, rather, a “Tepid” effect, or possibly, a “On the cooler side of warm” effect.

  8. My neighbor’s aunt makes $60 /hr on the internet . She has been out of work for 7 months but last month her check was $19703 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go Here
    ………….. http://WWW.MONEY-HOURS.COM

  9. Since that crap happened, I have noticed that comments here shy away from saying things as harsh as the originals, or will use a disclaimer, as if they know they’re being read and are afraid of the same thing happening to them. So the asshole feds were partially successful and have managed to chill our speech.

    1. And we’re all so much safer because of it…

    2. People may be more careful with their wording but the message hasn’t changed and it is being voiced loudly. If this was an effort to shut down dissent, it has failed.

      I am also curious if donations to Reason increased and by how much. I doubled mine.

      Hey Preet, you and Forrest should go jump in a lake. Of fire.

      1. Will they come back on the Fourth of July?

        1. No, but we’ll see them again then.

      2. Preet’s going down down down in a burning lake of fire. Somebody should turn that into a catchy song. Maybe change the words slightly.

  10. 10 reasons Preet Bharara should be the next attorney general

    To be sure, Bharara has faced criticisms that he grandstands. In this respect, Bharara may have learned a lesson or two from his former boss, media savvy Senator Chuck Schumer. But much in the same way that a beat cop drives around a neighborhood, Bharara’s media appearances may be construed as a high-tech way to remind prospective offenders that he is watching and to induce compliance with the law.

    A beat cop who abuses his authority when the neighborhood isn’t watching.

    1. Oh wow, that is gold.

    2. KING KONG AIN’T GOT SHIT ON ME!

    3. I hope Bharara enjoyed that particularly sloppy blowjob CNBC gave him with that article. JEZUS swallowed and everything!

  11. I support Reason because it is a voice that is followed by many, yet it brings us the other perspective to the most obscure corners of politic practice around the world. By definition, online political debate is sleazy and it gets worse with every new comment added. But it is important. If you don’t have a stomach, I recommend blogging about writing, self-improvement, or food. They are way better and provide you with real insights into peoples’ minds. Even some controversial issues, such as housing or schooling are usually transformed into well structured debates with various points of view and people rarely tend to attack the others by using ad hominem. So I hope I will be able to continue to visit this site.

    1. I recommend against food blogging.

      All food discussions eventually turn into BBQ arguments, especially at this time of year. Even on controversial issues like abortion, there is a certain amount of agreeing to disagree, but when it comes to pork vs. beef, civility goes out the window.

      1. Deep…Dish

        1. And here you see a splendid example of the technique used by the ruling class to keep the proletariat divided. It isn’t enough to simply allow for the natural divisions within a large enough social group to exist, not when they can be exploited to induce uncontrolled hostility amongst the factions. This of course gives the necessary excuse for the ruling class to suppress all factions.

          Well done my Glorious Leader.

        2. Fuck you! Thin crust NY style!

      2. I am an ecumenical libertarian who appreciates the contributions of Mises and Friedman alike and even possess a healthy skeptic’s respect for Catholicism, but I will never abide any son of a bitch who believes that beef has any place in a discussion of barbecue.

        1. Blasphemy.

          I live in cattle country. I can’t drive past a pasture and see cows without my mouth watering. Nothing beats charred, sizzling beef ribs covered with caramelized sauce.

          Dammit. Typing that made me hungry. Now I have to take some ribs out to thaw. I will be gnawing and sucking on them tonight while I try to pretend that True Detective season 2 is half as good as season 1.

          1. I forget which South you’re from, but my people are Old South country Tennesseans–true rednecks two generations removed from sharecropping–and would laugh their asses off if I ever brought home beef “barbecue.” It’s bad enough to get a college degree and not own a pickup, but that would be the last straw.

            And to be clear, barbecue as a verb can apply to anything (I had barbecued goat, possum, and coon in my childhood, among recognizable things), but barbecue (n.) has always been pork.

            1. Meh. I bet you don’t even own a shotgun.

              And I am in Louisiana, the real south.

              *mulls over which sauce to put on the beef ribs*

              1. I own a 12-gauge so old and dented that I’m afraid to shoot it. My uncle is a fourth-gen blacksmith who found the rusted barrel of a Kentucky long rifle buried on his Century Farm. My people have been known to debate whether you should kill deer and hogs with a .22 short. I’m pretty comfortable with my Southern authenticity.

                So what’s it like living in the Australia of the South? Do your people dig wells, or do you just dodge the gators, fanboats, and francophones when you go down to the swamp for the drink?

              2. Shy away from the sweet sauces on beef ribs. But I suspect you already knew that.

              3. Louisiana, the real south

                In the Real South, people who speak French get their asses whomped.

              4. …obviously a pork-based sauce should go on those beef ribs. 😉

                1. Bacon sauce…

        2. Oh, don’t be such a purist. I go on a semi-annual bbq pilgrimage and while I generally am a pulled pork and ribs kind of fellow, the burnt ends at Franklin BBQ and Oklahoma Joe’s are fucking to die for.

          1. Neophytes who call barbecue “pulled pork” need to shut up, pull up a chair, and listen reverently for a few hours while we preach to you the Good News of the one true barbecue.

            1. Hardly a newbie to BBQ, good sir. I had the good fortune of being raised in one of its Meccas. The mark of a great BBQ joint is being able to create delectable smoked treats from a multitude of dead animal carcasses. You can take your Hihn BBQ purity tests and shove it. 😉

              1. Trigger, you ain’t gonna really fuck up here and try to tell Knarf and I that the BBQ Mecca you grew up in is KC are you?

                All good men will agree that there is room to debate pork vs beef, but there can be absolutely no disagreement that KC is the whore’s den of BBQ and should be nuked from orbit just to be safe.

                1. Hehehehehe

                  I will tell you nothing. I prefer to keep the location of my home town terra incognita. You can surmise an educated guess from the limited options available.

                2. I like my rib, brisket, pulled pork, chicken bbq sandwich with sweet bbq sauce, vinegar, and mayo.

                  1. Everything needs a good spice rub of course

                3. And for the record, I found Gates and Arthur Bryant’s to possibly be the most overrated BBQ joints in the whole damn country with Corky’s in Memphis not far behind.

                  1. AFAIK, Gates and Arthur Bryants are not considered to be that good.

                    1. AFAIK, Gates and Arthur Bryants are not considered to be that good.

                      I have been insulted six ways from Sunday on this site, yet I keep coming back.

                      But this, sir, this hurt my feelings.

                      *sniffle*

                  2. Gates tastes like oversalted dirt. ABs is baaad, too.

                4. “All good men will agree that there is room to debate pork vs beef, but there can be absolutely no disagreement that KC is the whore’s den of BBQ and should be nuked from orbit just to be safe.”

                  Hey! Although I’ll agree there’s a lot of overrated BBQ here. There is some good BBQ too, even if you’re like me and generally hate sauce.

                  1. I also will agree on it being a whore’s den.

                  2. You from KC, lap? If so, I’ve been told to give LC’s a try. Thoughts?

                    1. I’ve only lived in KC for a few years, so my dining out experience is limited and I haven’t been there. But judging from a quick Google search I’d try it based on the fact that it looks like a hole in the wall but the reviews are good. Research shows that restaurant patrons are heavily influenced by atmosphere when judging the quality of the food, so if the atmosphere sucks but people like the food anyway I consider it a good sign.

                    2. Research shows that restaurant patrons are heavily influenced by atmosphere when judging the quality of the food, so if the atmosphere sucks but people like the food anyway

                      Bryant’s (the original one) is a tiny midcentury diner. The dining rooms aren’t very clean. Formica tables, old asbestos tiles on the floor. Pictures of Jimmy Carter and other notables eating there.

                      You walk in, go about 30′ get in line, shout your order through little windows at the counter (you should know what you’re getting before you go so as not to hold up the line). It’s tiny and cramped back there, the smoker only about 4′ from where they make the sandwiches. On Saturdays, the line’s out the door and halfway down the block.

                      My dad took me there when I was a child, when old man Bryant sat in a chair right by the smoker, his arms crossed over his chest, a scowl on his face, watching the employees to make sure they didn’t skimp on the meat.

                      My heavens, is that meat good. I don’t know how they manage to hold it together it’s so tender.

                      Anyhoo, then old man Bryant died and the daughter cleaned up the place a bit after the health inspectors got through with her. (Still not that clean.) She also had her employees weigh the meat and she opened up a franchise in one of the “river boat” casinos here. It has that generic restaurant look.

                      So when I go, yeah, I see old man Bryant there by the smoker, making sure the employees didn’t skimp on the meat.

                    3. lap and Moriah,

                      If you are are really in KC, check out BurntEnds on Metcalf and 119th. It is … not bad. Nothing a snob is going to enjoy all that much, but pretty good. (I work near there, and I”d love to meet you for ribs some day).

                      Also, if you haven’t hard them, get the wings at JackStacks on Metcalf. They are the best wings you will have ever had in your life. Order extra butter poured over the top.

              2. You can take your Hihn BBQ purity tests

                That was a low blow.

                1. Barbecue = Pig. dry rub slow-cooked in a hole in the ground behind a shack on the side of the road somewhere in the carolinas. served in paper tray with pickle slices and some cheap ass buns. vinegar to taste. all else is a patent-violation.

                  minor caveat = the versions that appear elsewhere in the country are also very good eating. the debate over who’s is ‘real’ or ‘the best’ glosses over the fact that you can’t really get decent southern food anywhere but in the south. specifically = never been anyplace in a big city that cooked collards properly. They seem to think the hideous amounts of syrup and salt were “a mistake” rather than a requirement. Also = motherfucker, why is there no marshmallow in my sweet potatoes?

                  1. “Also = motherfucker, why is there no marshmallow in my sweet potatoes?”

                    I didn’t know that was a southern thing, my (Minnesotan) mother does that. Although she did live in Nashville for awhile, maybe she picked it up there.

                  2. I had no idea what Blowhard was talking about re: collard greens and “hideous amounts of syrup,” so I applied my Googlefu to discover that some heathens put maple syrup on their collard greens.

                    I have never in my fucking life heard of such a stupid fucking thing as putting maple syrup on collard greens. One, if it were to be sweetened it would be sweetened with sorghum (which it wouldn’t be), and two, If I actually witnessed someone sweetening his greens at the dinner table, I would move quickly to place a cork on the offender’s fork to preserve his eyesight.

                    A proper mess is cooked and consumed with some sort of pork, lard from a hog you killed yourself, vinegar (optional), and salt. And the old folks seem to enjoy the pot liquor, so they can have it.

                    1. Those of us with five toes on each foot use butter or olive oil, lots of garlic, long and slow cooking. A little pimenton dulce for smokiness.

                      Maple syrup? Death penalty.

                    2. “I had no idea what Blowhard was talking about re: collard greens and “hideous amounts of syrup,”

                      Dark Karo, which i think is just molasses

                      i don’t really mean ‘hideous amounts’, but you should be able to taste it.

                      1/4 cup? + ham hock, vinegar & salt

                      I think the recipe which closes resembles what i’m talking about is “long cut collards with cane syrup”. popular in North Carolina (my family), and people in Louisiana seem to do it similarly.

                    3. “lard from a hog you killed yourself”

                      Do you also hand-extract your front teeth and age your banjo in the rain for a month?

            2. Yohoo! California calling with some lovely bbq’d Tofu steaks!

              1. I might make that before the concept gets ruined.

        3. I assume you exclude brisket from your list of acceptable barbecue items because it is smoked?

        4. St. Louis BBQ baby.
          Pork Steaks with Mauls barbeque sauce basted on during cooking. And St. Louis stye PORK ribs. Snoots. Old School hot wings(sugar in the sauce…try it). I could go on but this is making me too hungry so early in the work day.

      3. Yea well I thought it was self evident that cooking and eating beef ribs was a heinous act of heresy that should probably involve being put into a wood chipper at some point.

        1. I dislike pretty much all ribs. There I said it.

  12. The folks at Reason: Thank you.

    What you’re going through has to be absolutely chilling. To have people that have courtrooms, and handcuffs, and powers of arrest, and jails?.to have that crowd in your face would be frightening.

    Thank you, Reason.

  13. I’ve always viewed most Reason types as hacks who sell out the faithful for a few pieces of silver (Young’s treatment of Tom Woods and Gillespie’s dismissal of Walter Block when the NYT libeled him as an advocate of slavery come to mind), but I’ve enjoyed watching Welch make the rounds for a while.

    Then this morning I found the interview he did with McInnes in March and I’m reminded why I still like the coastal libertarian crowd despite all their sweetie-pie bullshittery and manipulative Soavinian faux populism.

    You may be a dirty Californian cosmo, Matty, but you’re our dirty Californian cosmo. Keep up the good work.

      1. Randy Newman is a national treasure. I predict major accolades when he unfortunately passes.

    1. “manipulative Soavinian faux populism.”

      Wow. ‘Soavinian’. He’s made adjective status!

      1. So what? SugarFree has been a verb for years.

      2. Wouldn’t it be better just to have “Soave” be the adjective? As in “man was I Soave on that date last night. By which I mean I came in my pants before she even sat down at the table, she took some pictures to show her friends and summarily left.”

  14. Obviously the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York is a totalitarian.

  15. And I am shocked that a genius like JFK didn’t know anything about World War I or why neutrality is essential to preventing regional conflicts from growing into a conflagration.

    The worst part about being governed by morons is that they don’t know they’re morons, and most of the population is even stupider than the morons they elected.

    1. I have a slight conspiracy theory, and I’m not sure if it’s optimistic or pessimistic: the people in public office aren’t really that stupid. They may know or not know that the things they do are stupid, but really, they don’t even care one way or the other. They view their job as doing their best to make morons happy, and it’s hard to make a moron happy unless he thinks you’re also a moron (morons are a remarkably clannish folk).

      So I surmise that calling elected officials stupid may, in many cases, be like calling the marketing consultant who created those Dos Equis commercials an idiot for believing that drinking Dos Equis will make him an interesting person who has lots of menage a trois’s. I mean, we all know the marketing consultant doesn’t actually believe that, he’s just selling a brand name. So too are the public persona of politicians: brand names designed to win over the lowest common denominator.

  16. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
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  17. Good job, Matt. And than you to the Reason editors for their commitment to keeping this comment section awesome. All comment sections are fetid swamps, but this one is so much more.

    1. Ours has alligators, pot, and mexican ass sex.

  18. I see no difference between Matt Welch and the Reason commentariot. Nicely done:) Matt gettin’ frisky. I like it.

    1. Apparently I did, unless that was Welch in a Cornel West costume.

      1. Maybe it got cut (or shortened) to cover the Space X stuff. I didn’t see it on, and I checked every 5-10 minutes. Seemed to be mainly SSM and race-related discussions.

  19. Well I just think Obama singing Amazing Grace should send shivers of joy down the spines anyone not a racist Teathuglican.

    1. The incredible thing about the Obama presidency is that he’s somehow managed to further dumb down the cult of the Presidency. We’re six years into this incompetence and corruption, and the ABC/CNN/etc. crew are still fawning over him every time he shoots down a heckler or grandstands in a particularly tacky, ham-handed, Hillary-esque fashion.

      It’s like these people think he’s America’s Queen Elizabeth, just a glamorous head of state with no unquestioned power to kill people arbitrarily.

      1. I find the Original Black Elvis more entertaining

      2. Hillary-esque. This is why. They are just supporting what they see as the inevitable future.

  20. Matt apparently got bumped because the first 15 minutes of the program were devoted to showing the same few seconds of the SpaceX rocket blowing up over and over again, and they still had all the gay marriage and Cornel West to get through. Hopefully they bring it up another time.

    Thanks for standing up for all of us, Matt. Sorry you didn’t end up on the show. I actually got up at 745am West Coast time (on a Sunday!) just to see it, because our son has overloaded the DVR. Oh well.

    1. OT: Apparently Cornel West released a rap album. I couldn’t find any of his “songs” on youtube though. Anyone wanna help me find a sample of Cornel’s rapping? Maybe they induced too many strokes in the listeners and the CDC had to make youtube take them down?

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  22. As a wiser person than myself said: the process is the punishment.

    1. Being processed in a woodchipper is also a punishment.

      1. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

  23. That particular government attorney is also a Democrat. He most likely frequents Reason.com on a regular basis, got pissed off at what he saw and used his power to scare the shit out of those people he deems as a threat to his ideology, which is punishing someone selling drugs to life in prison. Or he just did that all to get what he thinks is brownie points he can cash in with the judge in future cases he files.

    1. I got the information that he was a Democrat from Wikipedia, which may or may not be true or correct. I mean, it’s Wikipedia for God sakes.

  24. “There’s a Special Place in Hell for Those Who Subpoena Internet Comments”

    No room in your wood chipper?

  25. Dude, there is a special place for you in Heaven

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