That’s what suspected Pentagon Shooter John Patrick Bedell wrote on a site that promotes the legalization of cannabis. Hard to argue with.

As of now, there’s no reason to think that Bedell is anything other than an unbalanced guy with a history of mental disturbance.


Is this him?

UPDATE: Yep, looks like. Pentagon Shooter John Patrick Bedell – here’s his mugshot from a previous arrest. This guy seems to have a history of depression and being generally weird; more news to follow as it leaks out.

It sure could be. Right name, right age, fits the developing story that he’s from California.

UPDATE 2: Here’s another picture:

The news has hit the wires:

Two police officers at the Pentagon were wounded on Thursday evening when a man walked up to them outside of the complex’s Metro station and, without saying a word, opened fire on them, Pentagon officials said.

The shooting took place about 6:40 p.m. at the entrance to the Metro station across the street from the Pentagon, prompting officials to place the huge Arlington office complex and Department of Defense headquarters on lockdown for a brief period of time. Witnesses told local news stations that they heard gunshots and saw people screaming and scrambling to get out of the area.

The shooter approached the two officers at a security screening area outside the complex and reached into his pocket, pulling out what the officers thought would be a Pentagon pass, Richard S. Keevill, the Pentagon Police Chief, said at a news conference. Instead the man pulled out a handgun and started shooting at them, prompting the officers to fire back.

“They said he walked up very cool, like there was no distress,” Chief Keevill said, quoting the officers. “He had no real emotion in his face.”

So, who is John Patrick Bedell, and what’s his problem? Since there’s obviously no reason not to engage in some irresponsible speculation at this point, let me draw attention to the following:

There’s a lot more here:

A few highlights: “Bedell stood there staring at Detective Anderson.” “Bedell just stood there in the doorway refusing to move or even acknowledge that he was being spoken to.” “Bedell acted as if he did not even hear what was being said to him.” Is this our guy?

As we await the kickoff of today’s Big Health Care Smackdown Kabuki Whatever, let’s not forget how the incentives align for the two parties:

OUTCOME Democrats Republicans
Mainstream Base Mainstream Base
Bipartisan Passage – Major W W w L
Bipartisan Passage – Minor W w w l
Reconciliation – Major w W l W
Reconciliation – Minor w w l W
Nothing Passes L L w W


Those are the five options – major or minor reform with bipartisan support, major or minor reform by reconciliation, or nada. Major bipartisan reform would be a huge win for the Dems, so the Repubs won’t let that happen. Likewise, the Dems can’t afford to be left holding an empty bag. Any reconciliation would energize both bases, and any compromise would discourage the bases and encourage the moderates on both sides. The only likely results that today can prepare us for will be:

1) A moderate HCR package with a few R votes

2) A moderate HCR package passed through reconciliation

The third option, a massive package (including a Public Option) passed by reconciliation, is … unlikely. If it happened, all the back-biting we’ve seen in Washington thus far will have been a tickle-fight compared to the warring to come.

Let’s watch and see!

Ryan Sorba has been on TV and met famous people - and the picture he chooses for his MySpace profile is of him flexing his muscles and covering his crotch.

The world is a big, scary place, and some people just can’t handle it. This gives rise to a very particular type of toxicon: someone whose phony expertise is based not just on a failure to recognize one’s own ignorace, but on an urgent psychological need to believe that one understands something that makes one feel frightened and inadequate. Very, very inadequate.

Meet Ryan Sorba.

On 2/19/10, Ryan Sorba addressed a crowded ballroom at the annual CPAC conference of conservative political luminaries. This is what he said: 

“I’d like to condemn CPAC for bringing GOPride [sic] to this event. Civil rights are grounded in natural rights. Natural rights are grounded in human nature. Human nature is a rational substance in relationship to the intelligible end of the reproductive act is reproduction. Do you understand that? Civil rights when they conflict with natural rights are contrary… Will you sit down? The lesbians at Smith College protest better than you do. The lesbians at Smith College protest better than you do.”

Here’s the vid:

Sorba was quickly booed off the stage. The firestorm of commentary that ensued dissected exactly what Sorba’s words and the reaction to them says about the state of conservative thinking with regard to homosexuality. What hasn’t been examined is what they say about Mr. Sorba, which is interesting – because if you look at his actual statement, he never really attacked homosexuality at all.

Most peddlers of homophobia understand that there are two basic ways to go about it. If you know where the exits are, you can do a hit-and-run by invoking junk science to suggest that gay-ness is dangerous and harmful and then hauling ass before you get called on it. Alternately, you can stake out a nebulous high ground by applying adjectives like ‘immoral’ (which are impossible to argue with). Neither of these methods offers a knock-out blow, but they can satisfy an uncritical audience or rope-a-dope an unprepared opponent. In short, they work. So why didn’t Sorba stick with them?

Although Sorba’s actual words don’t add up to a meaningful sentence in the English language, his intentions are clear. He’s trying to argue that the legitimacy of sexual activity is in some sense based on the making of babies. One might certainly infer from this an attack on any lifestyle that involves non-reproductive sex, and many have been quick to poke the obvious holes in Sorba’s thinking (what about heterosexual sex in which the woman is pregnant, or one or both parties is infertile?).  These arguments, though reasonable, miss a larger point. Why should we read between the lines, when we can just consider what Sorba actually said?

“The intelligible end of the reproductive act is reproduction.”

Not fun. Not pleasure. Not even between heterosexuals. The ‘intelligible end’ – i.e., the whole point of sex – is reproduction.

In other words, if you enjoy sex, you’re missing the point.

Why does Ryan Sorba feel the need to convey this perspective? Why must he concoct such rickety logical frameworks to support his thesis that sex isn’t supposed to be pleasurable, goddammit?  And why is he so defensive and on edge that he’s constantly threatening anyone who might disagree with him?  There must be a reason for this behavior. Even if it’s only a little one. An eensy-weensy, shamefully tiny reason.

It’s back to CPAC tomorrow. I’ll be bringing some friends, meeting some friends, and hopefully engaging in some respectful and mutually informative conversations with folks of goodwill from the right side of that political spectrum that I’ve never really managed to find a place on. Maybe I’ll meet the guy or gal who will take Libertarianism back from gun nuts in period costumes and restore that respect for the intellectual defense of actual liberty that made guys like Thomas Jefferson so much fun at parties.

Or, maybe I’ll just see Ryan Sorba, a Young American for Freedom:

Say, Ryan – when you’re so homophobic that CPAC is booing you, you might want to take a step or two back. Get to know a gay person. Shake their hand. Hell, give them a big, all-American hug. But not too close. That’s the kind of thing that gets people wondering exactly what makes them so uncomfortable about the idea of same-sex attraction…

I find myself picking on ‘conservative’ politicos a lot here, and that’s not fair. Not that it’s unfair to them (they inevitably deserve it), but it’s unfair to the reasonable, informed, and rational conservatives out there – and it’s unfair to me, because it implicitly paints me as a faithful supporter of the political left, which I am not. So, let me say a brief word for Thomas E. Woods.

I had seen but not read Mr. Woods’ books, and in all honesty I was drawn to his CPAC breakout session in hope of fireworks. The topic of his speech was ‘nullification’, which has recently become Tea Party talk for ‘hoist the Confederate battle flag and pick up the Civil War where we left off’ – I anticipated blood-flecked spittle and wild-eyed, scenery-chewing screeds against the homosexual socialists who will shortly be arriving to convert us to atheism and abort our guns.


Mr. Woods is an intelligent man. He is clear-eyed and coherent – and, most of all, he knows his stuff. I won’t recap his lecture in detail, but he basically made a strong case for the idea that state nullification of federal dictates deemed unconstitutional is not a particularly radical idea. On the contrary, it’s an important check on potential abuses of federal authority. He cited his sources. He structured his arguments cogently, and was able to both identify and address the most probable objections to his thesis.

Hey, I don’t know Mr. Woods. Maybe he sleeps wearing a tinfoil hat with a shotgun on his knee. But whether or not he’s a good example, let me make this clear, because it is both overlooked and underappreciated: there are some immensely intelligent, sane, and reasonable conservatives out there. I would like to ask them for a favor. Please, pretty please, with tax cuts on top … get a grip on your goddamned constituency.

I walked out of Mr. Woods’ talk and back into the reality of CPAC. Mr. Woods had reminded me of how important it is for states to be able to protect themselves from federal overreaching – now I was reminded of how utterly incapable capital-C Conservatism is of recognizing what that is, and what it isn’t. For a few precious minutes I’d been enjoying the part of my American-ness that delights in the rock-ribbed refusal to submit to tyranny. Sadly, I immediately had to switch back to the part of my American-ness that despises snake-oil and scare-mongering.

Oh, intelligent conservatives. Sweet, intelligent conservatives. Know that, by some reasonable standards, I am truly one of you – my mistrust for aggregated authority matches yours at every turn. Another day, I might be tempted to ask why you can’t be content with trying to limit government but instead try to push it into the private lives of Americans. But that’s a different issue. Please, one of you, please: stand up and tell your fellows to knock off all the hysterical bullcrap.

Please acknowledge that global climate change is probably not a multinational consipracy by scientists to pick on poor, helpless American manufacturers.

Please acknowledge that the motley crew of Deists who founded our great nation didn’t secretly intend to appoint Jesus Christ as President-for-Life.

And please, for the love of all things reasonable and rational, stop freaking out about all the evils President Obama has wrought. Even if the Health Care Reform bill IS some kind of socialist plot, it hasn’t even frickin’ passed yet. Nor has Cap and Trade, and nor have any of these theoretical gun-seizures or eugenics programs.

Stop freaking out about stuff that just isn’t true, because you’re putting us all in danger. Some day, there may actually be a real wolf for you to cry about.

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