Good morning, City Desk readers, and welcome to an especially balmy installment of Freedom Friday! Y’all were very active in the comments this week: vinyl collectors went batshit over Steve Kolowich’s hipter/iTunes post, nerds saw an opportunity to sass me from behind the firewall, concerned WaPo readers balked at the sexual homogeneity of Metro’s lineup of columnitsts, and OH MY GOD someone over at the Sexist threatened to bite Christopher Hitchens’ dick off.

Was it the wonderful weather that did it?

Tea and pirates, after the jump.

  • Jeff Winkler of Reason magazine (and a frequent City Lights contributor), found the above map of nationwide tea parties to be held on April 15. There. Were. So. Many. A month or so ago I suggested they weren’t such a bad idea. Everyone from Matt Taibbi (hater of corporations, darling of the left, and, ahem, closet libertarian) to Rush Limbaugh objected to giving money to people who had previously used it as kindling.  And then something happened: a mass evite went out to the wingnuts. Julian Sanchez, who Washington City Paper picked as best policy blogger when he was working for Ars Technica, sums up the moderate objection to tea parties very nicely: “As James Joyner notes, protests are generally pretty ineffective, and these seem likely to be, if anything, unusually counterproductive. At any rate, signs demanding Obama’s birth certificate or endeavoring to remind him that this is a “Christian nation” don’t bode well, even if they’re unrepresentative. Even without them, it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that the conservatives jumping on the bandwagon now weren’t nearly as exercised about exploding spending under Bush, bolstering the perception that this has less to do with any principle than with partisan animus—and desperation. Finally, it seems a little tone deaf to claim the mantle of revolutionary resistance to colonial government when your actual beef is with the scope of an elected administration’s borrowing and spending.”
  • Dana Milbank lit into the tea party protesters as well. Unlike Sanchez, he traded analysis for heavy scene observations. Like the Washington Independent‘s Aaron Wiener, a Washington City Paper contributor who snapped some mighty fine tea party photos, Milbank managed to capture some funny slogans, the best of which leads us to our next item: “Blackbeard Obama, King of the Tax Pirates.”
  • It seems that the good people at Cato are arguing over whether or not the Somali pirates are like a government collecting a tax and vice versa. Greg at Fr33 Agents provides relevant links and breaks the scholars down into two teams: those who see eerily similarities between piracy and government, and those who do not.
  • One more word about pirates: is reporting that “[f]our men connected to The Pirate Bay, the world’s most notorious file sharing site, were convicted by a Swedish court Friday of contributory copyright infringement, and each sentenced to a year in prison.” THIS IS BIG NEWS! Google “Pirate Bay” and “Intellectual property” to get a sense of how big.