Cable is one of the things I gave up when I moved to Portland. And since I don’t get decent broadcast reception in my apartment, this means I’ve given up TV entirely. By the time I arrived here there was very little left that I wanted to watch. I lost interest in Meet the Press after Tim Russert’s death, Boston Legal had only a few episodes remaining before cancellation, and aside from Top Chef everything else I watched just served as a distraction while at home. I’m happy to say that I don’t miss it at all.
It’s unlikely that I’ll go back to TV anytime soon. Much of what I want to watch is online already and, if I wanted to watch TV series, Netflix is much cheaper. I miss out on contemporary quality shows like Battlestar Gallactica, but cable competing with Netflix is essentially current television shows competing with all television shows that have come before. Given that I haven’t watched any of the acclaimed series from HBO or Showtime that have come out in the past decade, there’s not much reason for me to pay for cable instead of catching up via DVD.
All of which is a long way of saying that last Friday’s John Stossel and Drew Carey special Bullshit in America is the first show in a while to make me wish I could watch at home. (Or even better, in a room packed with friends in DC — Portland isn’t the kind of city that airs 20/20 in its bars.) Luckily, the show is available on YouTube. The arguments are oversimplified, of course, but they offer a much needed perspective in the mainstream press. Here’s my favorite segment, on federal medical marijuana raids:
President Obama and AG Eric Holder have admirably promised to end raids on medical marijuana dispensaries that are legally recognized by their state governments. However Charles Lynch, featured in the video above, remains a victim of federal prosecution. He will be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years in prison on Monday. If Obama is serious about respecting state law, he will issue a pardon in this senseless case.
The rest of the special and Drew Carey’s Reason.tv videos that inspired it can be viewed here.
Speaking of online videos, my friend Caleb Brown has put together what may be Cato’s best production yet. Here he tells the story of Susette Kelo, whose little pink house was notoriously seized by the city of New London with approval from the Supreme Court. Today the lot where her home once stood remains empty, a testament to government waste and eminent domain abuse.