In a New York Times Magazine piece this past week, actor Rob Lowe seemed to reaffirm his libertarianism:
My thing is personal freedoms, freedoms for the individual to love whom they want, do with what they want. In fact, I want the government out of almost everything.
It wasn't always this way. Lowe's evolution from liberal Democrat (it was at the 1988 Democratic convention where a scandal nearly wrecked his career) to libertarian-leaning independent was decades in the making. As Taylor Bigler notes, Lowe discussed his political evolution at greater length a few years ago in the Guardian:
You know, there's that great quote: 'If you're young and you're not a liberal, you have no heart. If you're older and not a conservative, you have no brain.' I started out being a really, really liberal Democrat. [That changes] as you get older and you have children and you get more life experience. [The Guardian]
Friends of liberty should welcome converts, but whether it's Rob Lowe or Dennis Miller — or whomever — the downside of the trope about people becoming more conservative with age is that it is the young, impressionable fans who are most likely to be influenced by a celebrities' politics. (Jonah Goldberg has a point about young people being "frickin' stupid," but everyone concedes that youth sells.)
As much as I love the older, wiser Parks and Recreation Rob Lowe, the classic St. Elmo's Fire heartthrob Rob Lowe was much more culturally relevant. This, of course, is merely one example of a trend. And, as you can imagine, it's a constant headache for libertarians and conservatives who realize that youth sells and that politics is downstream from culture. Matt K. Lewis
"Last week was supposed to be a triumph for Republicans," Samantha Bee said on Wednesday's Full Frontal. "After seven long years, our national nightmare of somewhat affordable health coverage would finally be over." But of course the American Health Care Act, the GOP bill that sought to topple ObamaCare, created by House Speaker Paul Ryan and pushed hard by President Trump, crashed and burned on Friday amid Republican acrimony. "So I guess Democrats kind of won," Bee shrugged, "the same way the cops won that car chase at the end of Thelma & Louise."
The president himself tried to sweet-talk and threaten the bill across the finish line. "Trump couldn't sell ObamaCare repeal to a House that voted for it 60 times already?" Bee said. "Closing deals is the one thing President Big Boy Truck was supposed to know how to do!" And she laughed at Trump's claim that Democrats were to blame for not helping, reminding Trump, "It was killed by friendly fire!"
Though maybe "friendly" is the wrong word for the Freedom Caucus, Bee conceded, with some advice: "You can't negotiate with the Freedom Caucus, Mr. President. John Boehner could have told you that, but he's busy these days, sipping Merlot on the beach and counting his zero f—ks. The Tea Party sent the Freedom Caucus to Washington with one mission: To scream 'No' in the president's face, like the demented offspring of a hyena and a banshee. They didn't have a backup program for if you became president. None of us did, including you!"
She poked some fun at Ryan, too, joking that if you listen hard, "you can still hear Paul Ryan sobbing into his Ayn Rand doll. Oh, Raggity Aynd despises your weakness, Paul." And she tried to celebrate that "the stupid repeal-and-replace charade is over" — except Trump, Ryan, and other top Republicans keep insisting it isn't. Bee responded with a second doctored photo of Trump and Ryan as Thelma and Louise: "Sure, go for it guys. Maybe the movie will end differently this time." Watch the occasionally NSFW recap below. Peter Weber
A book that is 25 years overdue has finally been returned to the Great Falls Public Library in Montana — along with a $200 peace offering.
A man who checked out Richard Matheson's 1975 book Bid Time Return in 1982 and kept it wrote a letter to the library, saying it had been "bugging" him that he had kept it for so long. He revealed that he had read the "absolutely fascinating" book 25 times, and because it was in bad shape, he had it restored. Bid Time Return is now a collectible, he added, and before Matheson died in 2013, he had him sign the book.
The man, whose name was not shared by the library, admitted that the book had been "wrongfully taken," but wanted the staff to "kindly take into consideration it has been loved and cared for all these years, and know that I am sorry for taking it." The library's director, Kathy Mora, told library trustees she wasn't happy Bid Time Return had been pilfered, the Great Falls Tribune reports, but it was "remarkable" the "effort and funds he put into caring for the book." Catherine Garcia
Jack Prince, a 93-year-old World War II veteran, says the secret to his longevity is his love of the piano and desire to constantly improve his playing.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 30, 2017
"I think it's very useful for somebody my age to have something that you have to work at, and I do work," he told Good Morning America. Every two weeks, Prince takes private lessons at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and he practices five or six days a week, an hour every time. He's not just practicing for fun — he's also getting ready for a milestone. "I love to perform, and so with a birthday coming up, I'm preparing for my 94th birthday recital," he said. Catherine Garcia
During a meeting last summer in the situation room at the White House, FBI Director James Comey said he was considering writing an op-ed to explain how Russia was trying to influence the U.S. presidential election, people with knowledge of the matter told Newsweek.
Several notable officials were in the room, including former Secretary of State John Kerry and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Newsweek reports, and White House officials thought it would make more sense to release a message supported by several different intelligence agencies instead of a solo op-ed. The piece would not have mentioned the FBI's investigation, started in July, into possible collusion between President Trump's campaign and Russia, Newsweek reports. That investigation was confirmed earlier this month by Comey.
On October 7, the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a statement alleging that the Russian government was tampering with the election to disrupt the U.S., months after it was first reported that hackers had gained access to Democratic National Committee emails. Newsweek says that had Comey written his op-ed, it likely would have been sent to The New York Times, and would have included much of the information that was in the intelligence report released January 6 about Russian President Vladimir Putin influencing the presidential election. Catherine Garcia
On Wednesday night, North Carolina state Senate leader Phil Berger (R) and state House Speaker Tim Moore (R) announced that they have reached a deal with Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to repeal House Bill 2, the controversial "bathroom" law that prohibits transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender identity. Neither lawmaker disclosed details of the law, but The Charlotte Observer says leaks suggest it would repeal HB2, block local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances for three years, and prohibit cities from regulating restrooms and locker rooms.
The Senate, then the House, are expected to vote on the bill Thursday morning, before a reported ultimatum from the NCAA to change the law or lose any chance to host championship games through 2022. The NCAA and ACC pulled championship games from the state after HB2 went into effect, and the NBA moved its All-Star Game from Charlotte.
LGBTQ groups panned the compromise, reached after two days of marathon negotiations, calling it a capitulation by Democrats that would allow anti-LGBTQ discrimination to continue. Cooper issued a statement saying he supports the repeal bill, with reservations. "It's not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation," he said. The law has cost North Carolina billions of dollars. House Republicans narrowly approved the compromise behind closed doors, The Observer reports, but it will need Democratic support to pass. Peter Weber
U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson on Wednesday evening extended his previous order that halts President Trump's revised travel ban.
He made his decision after hearing arguments from the government and from Hawaii's state attorney general, Douglas Chin, who maintained that Trump's order was like a "neon sign flashing 'Muslim ban, Muslim ban'" and argued that Watson's earlier temporary order needed to be extended. In early March, Watson ruled in favor of Hawaii after the state contended that Trump's second executive order, which would have suspended new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries and paused the country's refugee program, was discriminatory and would hurt tourism. Catherine Garcia
PricewaterhouseCooper accountants took the blame for handing the wrong Best Picture envelope to presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, but despite the error, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is not severing ties with the firm, the board decided Tuesday night. PwC has been working with the Academy since 1935, and its U.S. chairman, Tim Ryan, again apologized to the board on Tuesday for the error.
Next year, balloting leaders Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz will be replaced by partner Rick Rosas, who was in charge of handing out the winners' envelopes from 2002 to 2013 and did a bang-up job, never switching any of them. He will be joined by a yet-to-be-announced partner. A third balloting leader will know the results and sit in the control room to quickly stop any issues that may arise onstage. Accountants will also go to rehearsals, and absolutely no electronic devices will be allowed near the stage. Catherine Garcia