Freedom isn’t free, also does not mean free

The Freedom Tower, formerly named for world trade

The Freedom Tower, formerly named for world trade

Remember when the word “freedom” described the power to act without restraint and not, you know, whatever else the speaker might like? Me neither. I know I said I’d never forget, but I said that all the time back then. Anyway, “freedom” now refers to what we get for being American, plus aspects of American culture such as commerce, religious devotion, muscle cars, whatever. It’s a rhetorical trope. In the 21st-century United States, saying “freedom” will hypnotize a small percentage of your audience, much as you could manipulate people during the occupation of Paris by humming La Marseillaise.

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Shia LaBeouf opens passive-aggressive art installation

Photo by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete of Vice

Photo by Jamie Lee Curtis Taete of Vice

Even though he tweeted “I AM NOT FAMOUS ANYMORE” three times in a row last week, Shia LaBeouf cannot put Beetlejuice back in the model. We know who he is, and we are interested in what he does—not in the good way anymore, where we want to see him be friends with a transforming robot, but in the other way where we cannot believe what a schmuck he is. According to Vice, LaBeouf is spending this week doing “some kind of super artsy thing” in LA. First, props to The Angel Ben Gabriel for the link, and second, I believe the word for some kind of super artsy thing is “art.” In keeping with Monsieur LaBeouf’s recent work, the art on offer seems passive aggressive in the extreme.

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Superintendent plagiarizes letter to the editor, maybe doesn’t understand original

Max Lenington, Yellowstone County treasurer, assessor and superintendent of schools

Max Lenington, Yellowstone County treasurer, assessor and superintendent of schools

Max Lenington hates the president and his wife; that much he made clear in the letter he wrote last week to the editor of the Billings Gazette, entitled “Why I hate the Obamas.” The way in which he hates the Obamas, however, is suspiciously similar to that described in conservative columnist Mychal Massie’s piece “Why I do not like the Obamas,” which Massie accuses Lenington of plagiarizing. I should point out that these are all allegations and no one has confirmed that Lenington plagiarized anything, but he totally did it. As the Missoulian puts it, “Lenington appears to have essentially condensed Massie’s editorial from about 1,000 words to 300 words. It also seems that he restructured sentences written by Massie and interchanged certain words with others that have similar definitions.” Comparison after the jump.

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Sen. Robert Menendez marries metaphor

Pictures into which dicks must be Photoshopped immediately

Pictures into which dicks must be Photoshopped immediately

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned that his party was entering a “demographic death spiral” by opposing immigration reform. He was likely referring to the conflict between the GOP’s leadership and its base, which two groups are divided between large employers and nativists, i.e. taskmasters v. crackers. Maybe that’s a little strong. You can get into trouble when you commit to a metaphor, as Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) demonstrated in his own remarks:

I would tell my Republican colleagues, both in the House and the Senate, that the road to the White House comes through a road with a pathway to legalization. Without it, there’ll never be a road to the White House for the Republican Party.

Assiduous unpacking after the jump.

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On being banned from Sarah Palin’s Facebook

The future (artist’s rendering)

Possibly due to my request that she “please stop,” I have been banned from posting comments on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page. My quote from the New England Journal of Medicine regarding what the IPAB actually does has been deleted, leaving Citizen Palin unchallenged in her assertion that “its purpose all along has been to ‘keep costs down’ by actually denying care via price controls and typically inefficient bureaucracy.” It seems unlikely that the Independent Patient Advisory Board was designed to prevent people from getting health care via inefficiency, but Sarah Palin can say what she wants. I can’t say anything back to her, but she is communicating on her own Facebook wall. That wall belongs to her and to Facebook, so they can delete whom they please.

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