City Desk

Our Morning Round-Up: Hentoff Gives me Goosebumps

Good morning, City Desk readers, and congratulations on making it to another Freedom Friday. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day–do y'all have something sweet planned for your significant others/selves? There's a lot of freedom out there today, so let's get started!

Nat Hentoff, 50-year veteran of the motherfucking Village Voice, has joined D.C.'s–nay, the world's–very own Cato Institute as a senior fellow (H/t to Tom at Fr33 Agents). This news is over a week old, and I'm simply flabbergasted that I haven't heard about it until now. After all, it's not every day that a well-known liberal gadfly decides to hang his hat on a libertarian rack–perhaps that's why no one made a big to-do? Here's Hentoff on the big move:

"Becoming a senior fellow of the Cato Institute – from whose publications I've often quoted – enables me to continue following the advice of my earliest mentor, Duke Ellington, who told me never to be caught up in a musical or any other categories," said Hentoff. "Duke said that it's always the individual's expression that defines his identity. All these years later, if I had to describe myself, it would be as an uncategorizable libertarian – and that's why I'm delighted to be at the Cato Institute, where freedom rings."

For more on Hentoff's Duke Ellington reference, check out Alan Bock at the OC Register.

Arthur Delaney reports in his cover story for this week (aptly named "Watchmen," in homage to Alan Moore) on the effectiveness of crime cameras. This snippet illustrates just one of the cameras system's many flaws:

In February 2007, two men were shot in broad daylight on the 1600 block of Euclid Street NW, well within the purview of a camera. The camera had panned away from the incident. Third District Commander Larry McCoy told the Washington Times that the footage showed “nothing that’s going to close the case out.”

Retired Lt. Michael Smith was repeatedly frustrated by the cameras’ attention span. “You always have those cases,” he says. “You get a glimpse of people running away, you get the suspect running away. Sometimes you’ll see people hanging in the area and it panned away and then it will turn back and it’s complete pandemonium because somebody fired off rounds. The camera is constantly panning.”

There's something of a kerfuffle going on in the beltway blogosphere (but only there, because these sorts of disagreements aren't real/based in reality) over libertarian economist Arnold Kling, who compared the passing of the stimulus bill to having his home ransacked by thugs. The American Prospect's Adam Sewer and Vanity Fair's James Wolcott saw race-baiting, and suggested Kling only used the thug metaphor because Barack Obama is black. Sewer and Wolcott are kind of like the liberals who knew, just absolutely knew, that the conservatives would try to invoke fears of miscegenation during the election (when in fact, the only people to stir up those fears were, well, "non-racist" liberals). The Atlantic's Megan McArdle responds here, and Reason's Nick Gillespie responds here.

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