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The Strange Saga of Pappy O’Daniel: New at Reason

Vox PappyLong before Donald Trump threw his hair into the ring, the 1930s Texas radio star W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel ushered in an era that effaced the lines between popular culture and politics, paving the way not just for Trump but for Jesse Ventura, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kinky Friedman, and every other politician who started with a fan base instead of an exploratory committee. Today at Reason, Jesse Walker looks back at the career of the flour salesman turned country-music bandleader turned populist crusader turned witch-hunting governor. If you want to know how a reality TV star can open a presidential primary season with a second-place finish in Iowa and then victories in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, start here.

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A.M. Links: GOP Debate Tonight, Bernie vs. Hillary, Apple vs. FBI
  • The remaining Republican candidates will face off tonight at a presidential debate in Houston.
  • Mitt Romney is challenging Donald Trump to release his tax records. “We have good reason to believe that there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes,” Romney said. “Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying taxes we would expect him to pay or perhaps he hasn’t been giving money to vets or to the disabled like he’s been telling us he’s been doing.”
  • Bernie Sanders “is blaming America’s poverty crisis on Hillary—for her husband’s welfare policy.”
  • “Fearing that the government may be able to order it to bypass security features in newer-model phones, Apple has quietly begun working on enhancements that would prevent the company from updating the software of an iPhone without knowing a user’s password, according to individuals familiar with the effort.”
  • Ammon Bundy and nine others involved in the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon appeared in federal court yesterday, where they entered pleas of not guilty to federal conspiracy charges.

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Conscripting Apple: New at Reason

After the FBI determined it could not replicate the San Bernardino killer’s password without jeopardizing his iPhone’s content, it approached Apple to find a way for Apple to help the FBI without compromising the security of the Internet itself. They failed. After the talks broke down, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) made a secret application on Feb. 16, 2016, two and a half months after the massacre, to a federal judge for a search warrant for this key to access the killer’s iPhone.

The warrant was improperly granted because Apple was not given notice of the DOJ application, notes Andrew Napolitano. That alone is sufficient to invalidate the order. But in addiction, “the DOJ has obtained the most unique search warrant I have ever seen in 40 years of examining them,” Napolitano writes. Here, the agency has persuaded a judge to issue a search warrant for a thing that does not exist, by forcing Apple to create a key that the FBI is incapable of creating. Essentially, the DOJ wants Apple to hack into its own computer product, thereby telling anyone who can access the key how to do the same. 

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Brickbat: Don’t Go to New Jersey

A Pennsylvania corrections officer has been suspended from his job and faces a minimum of more than three years in prison after being charged in New Jersey with carrying a gun without a state permit. Raymond Hughes, who does have a carry permi…

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