The Real Lance Brown

"Thank God you aren't important." – Jake Pentland
June 8, 2012

Gary Johnson: “Be Libertarian With Me” Campaign Ad

Author: Lance - Categories: Politics and Government

I wasn’t crazy about the first two Gary Johnson campaign ads that came out after he was nominated as the Libertarian Party candidate, but this one’s fun. Not birthday party fun…more, shaking-things-up-a-bit fun. And his “be libertarian with me for this one election” line is really good, IMO.

I’m interested in seeing more borderline-revolutionary-type ads from the Johnson campaign. No point in third-party candidates pulling punches at this point. The partisan duopoly will surely be pulling out all the stops to stay in power. And people are getting much closer to being ready for a revolution—preferably a ballot-driven one.

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This is how much Dianne Feinstein cares about her constituents

Author: Lance - Categories: Politics and Government

I’m pissed off.

Recently I sent a letter (via DownsizeDC‘s action center) to Senator Dianne Feinstein and my other congresspeople asking her to support Rep. Barbara Lee’s bill HR 2859, which would repeal the Authorization to Use Military Force–the law from 2001 which effectively kicked off the War on Terror, and which was used as cover for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 (among other things).

While my letter is very short, it’s as important as it is short. I’m taking a stand against war and the improper use of military force. Kind of a big deal.

Here’s my letter:

NOTE: I realize that as a Senator, Feinstein can’t actually sponsor Rep. Lee’s bill directly, but I don’t think there’s any way to misread my intent. (I should have said something about introducing a parallel bill in the Senate…but it also goes without saying, in my opinion.)

Here is Senator Feinstein’s blatantly generic reply letter. Note that it makes no reference to the AUMF or Rep. Lee’s bill, instead talking generally about the War Powers Resolution (a 1973 law that laid out a framework for justifying military actions).

But even more important, note the closing line–which is clearly from late 2009!

Just in case you had any illusions that your letters to Congress are actually being read by (or replied to by) your congresspeople…at least in the case of Senator Dianne Feinstein, they clearly are NOT.

If this pisses you off, please click here to send a tweet to Senator Feinstein letting her know you saw her pathetic letter here and are not pleased. (If this doesn’t piss you off: WAKE UP.)

In the words of the esteemed Senator Feinstein: <![endif]>

<![endif]> indeed.


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February 21, 2011

Atlas Shrugged Movie Trailer

Author: Lance - Categories: Filmmaking, In the News, Politics and Government

Here’s the trailer for the upcoming Atlas Shrugged Part 1 movie:

I’m pretty excited about this. I have a long history with Atlas Shrugged, as do many people, and a lot of us have been nervous about how a movie would come out when it finally did. This looks promising, which is nice considering that there was a serious time and money crunch in the production of the movie.

It remains to be seen whether they actually managed to get enough film to come up with a whole cohesive story, but the trailer (and the uncut scene they just released) make me hopeful that the book will be represented well. I’m crossing my fingers, even though I know Ayn Rand wouldn’t believe in that. ;-)

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New scene released from Atlas Shrugged Part 1

Author: Lance - Categories: Filmmaking, Politics and Government, Social Media

The Atlas Shrugged movie people have released a short uncut scene:

I’m still impressed by the overall quality so far, considering the tiny budget and super-rushed production schedule. What do you think?

(By the way, you can request that Atlas be screened in your town here.)

Here’s the full trailer for the movie in case you haven’t seen it.

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February 7, 2011

Revisiting “The USA-PATRIOT Axe”

Author: Lance - Categories: Politics and Government, Web Design and Blogging

Today on Twitter I posted a link to an old blog entry of mine, originally from my presidential campaign site, called “The USA-PATRIOT Axe”.

Since Congress is currently in the process of slithering through another renewal of some the lamest parts of that law, it seems like a great time to visit that old post of mine, which I think still holds up pretty well after about 8 years. So here you go:


May 25, 2003

This article (“Patriot Raid”, by Jason Halperin) gives the “USA-PATRIOT” Act some perspective — a first-person one. He experienced a raid while eating dinner at a restaurant in New York City, where the agents involved claimed the “USA-PATRIOT” Act as the legal cover for the raid and their conduct during it.

If you know anyone who says, “Don’t worry about the Patriot Act…it only applies to terrorists and immigrants…if you’re not doing anything wrong, you’ve got nothing to worry about…the Patriot Act is just providing law enforcement with the tools it needs…”, make them read this article. Twice if necessary. Make them acknowledge the reality of it. If they want to continue thinking the above thoughts, fine. But they need to make sure they aren’t playing fast and loose with Pastor Martin Niemoller-style excuses and evasions.

The USA-PATRIOT Act means machine guns in your face, and boots kicking in doors where you are, doing your innocent and ordinary things. Not just the terrorists and the guilty, not just the immigrants and the minorities…you. You, sitting there in a restaurant eating dinner. …

Read the whole entry here.

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January 16, 2011

New job title: Reince Priebus joke curator (?!?)

Author: Lance - Categories: Creative endeavors, Humor, Politics and Government, Twitter projects, Twitter stuff, Web Design and Blogging - Tags: ,

In an extremely unexpected turn of events, I have launched a site dedicated to jokes about the new Republican National Committee chairman with the funny name, Reince Priebus. The site is called (surprise!) It’s mostly based off of tweets that I have skimmed off of the Internet – some 250+ jokes have been re-tweeted at the Twitter account @jokesonreince, and 150+ of them have been copied over to (Technical difficulties have made the others not get copied over, but you can see them all at the Twitter page. I will get them all on the site soon enough.)

I take at least a little pride in the fact that the new site was the #1 result at Google for “reince priebus jokes” within 24 hours of launching. Unless something weird happens, I expect it will hold that spot for a long time to come. That’s part of what made me decide to go ahead with launching the site (after it loosely crossed my mind, when I invented the idea of the site in a tweet about all the Reince Priebus jokes from the day). I may discuss the reasons behind the site’s genesis more soon. In the meantime, feel free to check out the jokes, join in the fun, follow the site on Twitter if you want, and certainly pass the word to anyone who you think might enjoy this strange combination of comedy, wordplay, politics, and social media.

I have no idea where this might go. My goal is to automate it as much as possible, or maybe to delegate to folks who want to keep building the library and the community around it. We will see. I do know that as long as Reince Priebus is a national political figure, there will be Reince Priebus jokes, and as long as there are Reince Priebus jokes, there will be Unless I get bored with it or sell it for hush money. (Big hush money, any of you hush-money dreamers.)

Here are the tweets that led up to the site’s formation… Read more…

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January 13, 2011

The Little Things – “Patriot Re-Action”

Author: Lance - Categories: Politics and Government, The Little Things - Tags: ,

Here is a “lost” edition of my comic strip The Little Things, from 3-10-10, titled “Patriot Re-Action”. The finished comic didn’t quite make it out of the gate when the issue was in the news nearly a year ago, but since the law’s renewal is coming around again soon, it’s as good a time as any to release this futile wail into the world. (This way I can make a brand new one for if/when the “Patriot” Act does get renewed again.)

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March 5, 2010

Paul Rosenberg on How Libertarians Fail

Author: Lance - Categories: Politics and Government

Paul Rosenberg posted on Fr33Agents about how libertarians (and any other group with a like viewpoint) make some basic group dynamic errors that serve to hold them back–the biggest being that they tend to communicate mostly within their own thought-circles.

I grew bored with the endless flow of philosophical and political cross-talk that seems to dominate most libertarian message boards and email lists. Most of it is about finding divisions in between people in the movement, rather than commonalities, which is not especially helpful if you’re trying to grow the movement into something stronger. And, as Rosenberg discusses in his post, navel-gazing over the views we already hold in common doesn’t help much either.

Cheap Talk & Group Dynamics: How Libertarians Fail.

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October 15, 2009

(Lance comments on) Roger Ebert on Universal Health Care

Author: Lance - Categories: Across the Blogosphere, Politics and Government

I’m safe on board. Pull up the life rope – Roger Ebert’s Journal

Film critic Roger Ebert’s second blog post on health care reform has received almost 1000 comments; my comment is probably near the 600 zone. Here’s a direct link to my comment, but it’s copied below anyway. The more important place to start is Ebert’s post itself. He makes good points about having compassion for our fellow man, but like most folks who want to expand government, he appears to consider respecting individual liberty to be outside of the requirements of compassion and generosity. He seems to see the two forces as mutually exclusive, and is perfectly content to allow his version of compassion to override the freedom of everyone in the U.S..

As I point out in my comments, individual liberty and a compassionate society do not need to be mutually exclusive or competing things. There is another path, which would be pretty apparent if those desiring universal health care would give up their fixation on it having to be provided/guaranteed by government.


I must have missed the part where you explain why government has to be the vehicle through which we pursue the obviously-noble goal of ensuring that all have sufficient health care. Advocates of Obamacare are quick to speak of the moral imperative of compassion, but are willing to dispose of the moral imperative of individual liberty in pursuit of their goal.

If we’re talking about fulfilling our moral obligation to our fellow man–we owe him both compassion AND individual liberty. The dream of universal health care can be achieved without government mandates and without government takings. We don’t need to push each other around in order to do the right thing.

Instead of looking to follow in the rest of the world’s footsteps–which historically does not at all fit America’s profile–we should look to lead the world to a new and better way. Which is not just America’s profile, it’s our original purpose.

It’s odd how liberals have been allowed to take the moral high ground in this debate, when it would be clearly more moral to solve this problem without resorting to the use of force. Some nice side effects of doing so would be that it wouldn’t divide our country against itself, and it wouldn’t be dependent on the whims of voters or Congress or presidential administrations. But I wonder…it seems like a lot of folks in the current debate wouldn’t be satisfied somehow if we solved the problem without using government to push each other around.

There is a way for the health care solution to peacefully become a permanent part of our society’s fabric–but it requires stepping away from the insistence that “universal health care” = “universal health care provided by the government”.

A universal health care system which exists outside of government, in the voluntary sphere of society, is the true ideal, and we should not let the lazy half-step that is socialized medicine substitute for the genuinely ethical solution that we could achieve instead.

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October 2, 2009

State to mom: Stop baby-sitting neighbors’ kids

Author: Lance - Categories: In the News, Politics and Government

Once again, state licensing laws interfere with people trying to be a community. Thank God the state is there to step in and make sure we aren’t helping to watch each others’ kids, or run soup kitchens, or style people’s hair, without complying with myriad regulations and state and federal standards, and paying licensing and other fees.

Notable is the fact that to resolve the problem in this particular case, lawmakers are simply looking to fine-tune their arbitrary rules–not considering for a second the option of letting parents have the responsibility of determining where their children spend their time, and under whose care.

I’m given to wonder just how the human raced managed to survive all those many centuries without having the government in control of the babysitting industry.

(Full story has been duplicated here for non-profit archival purposes; the original copy is here.)

State to mom: Stop baby-sitting neighbors’ kids

IRVING TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Each day before the school bus comes to pick up the neighborhood’s children, Lisa Snyder did a favor for three of her fellow moms, welcoming their children into her home for about an hour before they left for school.

Regulators who oversee child care, however, don’t see it as charity. Days after the start of the new school year, Snyder received a letter from the Michigan Department of Human Services warning her that if she continued, she’d be violating a law aimed at the operators of unlicensed day care centers.

“I was freaked out. I was blown away,” she said. “I got on the phone immediately, called my husband, then I called all the girls” – that is, the mothers whose kids she watches – “every one of them.”

Snyder’s predicament has led to a debate in Michigan about whether a law that says no one may care for unrelated children in their home for more than four weeks each calendar year unless they are licensed day-care providers needs to be changed. It also has irked parents who say they depend on such friendly offers to help them balance work and family.

Snyder’s predicament has led to a debate in Michigan about whether a law that says no one may care for unrelated children in their home for more than four weeks each calendar year unless they are licensed day-care providers needs to be changed. It also has irked parents who say they depend on such friendly offers to help them balance work and family.

On Tuesday, agency Director Ismael Ahmed said good neighbors should be allowed to help each other ensure their children are safe. Gov. Jennifer Granholm instructed Ahmed to work with the state Legislature to change the law, he said.

“Being a good neighbor means helping your neighbors who are in need,” Ahmed said in a written statement. “This could be as simple as providing a cup of sugar, monitoring their house while they’re on vacation or making sure their children are safe while they wait for the school bus.”

Snyder learned that the agency was responding to a neighbor’s complaint.

Granholm spokeswoman Liz Boyd said the agency was following standard procedure in its response. “But we feel this (law) really gets in the way of common sense,” Boyd said.

“We want to protect kids, but the law needs to be reasonable,” she said. “When the governor learned of this, she acted quickly and called the director personally to ask him to intervene.”

State Rep. Brian Calley, R-Portland, said he was working to draft legislation that would exempt situations like Snyder’s from coverage under Michigan’s current day care regulations.

The bill will make it clear that people who aren’t in business as day care providers don’t need to be licensed, Calley said.

“These are just kids that wait for the bus every morning,” he said. “This is not a day care.”

Snyder, 35, lives in a rural subdivision in Barry County’s Irving Township about 25 miles southeast of Grand Rapids. Her tidy, comfortable three-bedroom home is a designated school bus stop. The three neighbor children she watched – plus Snyder’s first-grader, Grace – attend school about six miles away in Middleville.

Snyder said she started watching the other children this school year to help her friends; they often baby-sit for each other during evenings and weekends.

After receiving the state agency’s letter, she said she called the agency and tried to explain that she wasn’t running a day care center or accepting money from her friends.

Under state law, no one may care for unrelated children in their home for more than four weeks each calendar year unless they are licensed day-care providers. Snyder said she stopped watching the other children immediately after receiving the letter, which was well within the four-week period.

“I’ve lived in this community for 35 years and everyone I know has done some form of this,” said Francie Brummel, 42, who would drop off her second-grade son, Colson, before heading to her job as deputy treasurer of the nearby city of Hastings.

Other moms say they regularly deal with similar situations.

Amy Cowan, 34, of Grosse Pointe Farms, a Detroit suburb, said she often takes turns with her sister, neighbor and friend watching each other’s children.

“The worst part of this whole thing, with the state of the economy … two parents have to work,” said Cowan, a corporate sales representative with a 5-year-old son and 11-month-old daughter. “When you throw in the fact that the state is getting involved, it gives women a hard time for going back to work.

“I applaud the lady who takes in her neighbors’ kids while they’re waiting for the bus. She’s enabling her peers to go to work and get a paycheck. The state should be thankful for that.”

Amy Maciaszek, 42, of McHenry, Ill., who works in direct sales, said she believes the state agency was “trying to be overprotective.”

“I think it does take a village and that’s the best way,” said Maciaszek, who has a 6-year-old boy and twin 3-year-old daughters. “Unfortunately you do have to be careful about that. These mothers are trying to do the right thing.”

Associated Press writers Randi Goldberg Berris and David Runk in Detroit and Kathy Barks Hoffman in Lansing, Mich., contributed to this report.

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Tallahassee Democrat.

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