Morning Links

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
  • Dems looking to scrap term limits for committee chairs. Bring back the Rostenkowski era!
  • Foreign Policy names Cato the world’s most innovative think tank, and notes, “Cato’s libertarian stance, once viewed as fringe, is now considered respectable.” Hey, it’s a start.
  • Obama’s pick for OLC looks to be pretty good.
  • Coming soon, to a hysterical public health activist near you:  third-hand smoke!
  • Some nice ice-themed photos.
  • Fun with speed cameras.
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  • 77 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Barry | 

      I should explain my ‘BWAHAHA!’ comment; Radley definitely deserves that:

      The CATO Institute has definitely held the line on civil rights for the Bush administration, and deserve credit for that. But now, as the economic system of the world undergoes a massive crisis, they offer pretty much more of the same (doctrinaire libertarianism) combined with revisionist history (which most libertarians will now support, IMHO, since many of the gains claimed by them are now questionable).

    2. #2 |  Matt Moore | 

      #34 – That study, like all the previous ones studying hospitalizations after a smoking ban, has serious problems.

      But the study had limitations: It assumed declines in the amount of secondhand smoke in Pueblo buildings after the ban, but did not try to measure that. The researchers also did not sort out which heart attack patients were smokers and which were not, so it’s unclear how much of the decline can be attributed to reduced secondhand smoke.

      One academic argued there’s not enough evidence to conclude the smoking ban was the cause of Pueblo’s heart attack decline.

      The decline could have had more to do with a general decline in smoking in Pueblo County, from about 26 percent in 2002-2003 to less than 21 percent in 2004-2005. If there were stepped-up efforts to treat or prevent heart disease in the Pueblo area, that too could have played a role, said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health.

      “I don’t think it’s as clear as they’re making it out to be,” Siegel said.

      Smoking bans may very well decrease the incidence of heart disease, but I suspect it’s not because they decrease second-hand smokers. Instead, it’s because first-hand smokers quit (or smoke less) when they’re not allowed to smoke at work.

    3. #3 |  Robin | 

      Have they actually studied the harm of third hand smoke exposure, or only how aware the public is of this presumed risk? Because the latter is all that’s reported on in this article. But of course harm from third hand smoke can’t be demonstrated in a verifiable non-ridiculous sort of way. Just think about it for like a second! But those doctors coined a term! How discouraging to think that there are “scientists” out there investigating this. Shouldn’t they be trying to make a new vaccine or something, instead of taking bullshit polls to help further marginalize a group of people?

    4. #4 |  bobzbob | 

      “13 Bozbob It’s not a matter of whether those toxins are harmful (they are) but whether they persist in sufficient concentration to cause harm. Some or many of those toxins are found in smoke from fireworks, so do we ban watching firework displays outdoors? Some of them are in vehicle exhaust fumes, so we ban vehicles? How about air-conditioning? Computers? Paint? Washing up liquid? Meat?”

      Let’s see: Yes we DID ban vehicles with excessive exhaust fumes (without catalytic converters or emission controls or using leaded gas), so now much of the danger from that has been reduced or eliminated. Yes we DID ban paint with high VOC content, yes we severely restrict solvents, fireworks displays do not produce chronic exposures and eating meat doesn’t expose anyone else to the toxins. I don’t know what AC or computers have to do with this – neither of these emit dangerous toxins in normal use – but we DID ban disposal of these in ways that might expose people to toxins.

    5. #5 |  Les | 


      When and where has “doctrinaire libertarianism” been tried and how did it lead to the current financial crisis? Also, could you provide some examples of the “revisionist history” in which Cato is engaging?

    6. #6 |  Mattocracy | 


      The economic crisis is the result of government intervention in the market. There was nothing remotely Libertarian about our economy pre-financial crisis, and certianly not now. You say we have revisionist history, but maybe you should take a look in the mirror.

    7. #7 |  Cappy | 

      Butane – Oh shit! No more camping cookstoves for you! Bad camper!

      Hydrogen Cyanide – Apples and pears contain amygdalin which in turn can create hydrogen cyanide during digestion. It is also produced in a multitude of foods when cooked. No eating for you!

      Toluene – Found naturally in crude oil. The human body has no problems breaking it down into harmless properties when in small doses…like cigarette smoke.

      Arsenic – Organic and inorganic, both found in the foods we eat. Regular high doses can lead to cancer. High doses are not found in food…or cigarettes.

      Lead – Used in a wide variety of products. Hell, it’s even mined. In other words, lead is all over the place. Don’t see people dropping dead because of it.

      Carbon Monoxide – Go suck on a tailpipe, dumbasses.

      Polonium-210 – Found in tobacco leaves grown with PHOSPHATE FERTILIZERS. Get rid of phosphate fertilizers and you get rid of polonium in your tobacco. Case dismissed. Oh wait, phosphate fertilizers are used in crop production. SHIT! FUCK! WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!

    8. #8 |  TC | 

      I can’t wait for the UT legislature to get their hands on that article, they will for sure be the first theocracy to implement more bans on smoking.

      I wish some asswipe group would do a study on the harmful effects of breathing in the stench from a deep fat fryer that permeates everything in the entire building!

      No that crap stinks! Sends my brain into full retreat mode it does!

    9. #9 |  MacGregory | 

      And what of the effects of second and third hand perfume/cologne? Anyone who has every worked in an office knows WTF I’m talking about.

      But I guess thats better than being around someone who just needs to take a fucking bath.

    10. #10 |  Glenn Greenwald thinks Obama’s latest appointments are good at Klintron’s Brain | 

      […] (via The Agitator) […]

    11. #11 |  Balloon Maker | 

      note on beating camera tickets. I live in PHX, which is blanketed with the f’in things. If my wife and I are in a hurry, i drive her car. ticket comes in her name with a picture of me. Mail it in. Done and done.

      Or just wear a mask.

    12. #12 |  Cynical in CA | 

      I drive without a front license plate (never been pulled over for it in 5 years, the one time I was pulled over was for not having a light over my rear license plate).

      When I drive through a camera intersection, I put my hand in front of my face, including my eyes. I leave a little gap between my fingers so I can still see.

      A while back, I even sprayed a reflective substance on my rear plate, but that fades too quickly and leaves ugly yellow stains.

      There could be no end to the various methods one can use to thwart cameras, yet the State is raking in the dough.


    13. #13 |  supercat | 

      //Man dies 50 years after contact with 5th hand smoke, confirming scientific studies.//

      The joys of statistical homeopathy (the more remote the causality, the more powerful the presumed causitive agent)

    14. #14 |  James D | 

      I’m in PHX area too Balloon, it sucks …. rumor is the new Governor might get rid of the damn things ….. crossing my fingers ….

    15. #15 |  Werner Patels | 

      Third-hand smoke, is it now, eh? I can picture it now: the entire anti-smoking lobby dies of cancer … of the brain.

    16. #16 |  crack | 

      You might appreciate Radley, another problem with ‘obesity’ related deaths.

    17. #17 |  Bob | 

      “When I drive through a camera intersection, I put my hand in front of my face, including my eyes. I leave a little gap between my fingers so I can still see.”

      Let me get this straight. When you BLOW THROUGH A RED LIGHT you put your hand over your face so the camera can’t nab you? For the love of god, I hope I don’t ever have to drive anywhere near you.

      You guys crack me up.

      Why don’t you… Oh, I don’t know… just not speed or run red lights?

      Oh wait, that would be safe. And that, apparently, isn’t the libertarian way.

      Personally? I haven’t gotten a speeding ticket in 30 years. Here in Fairfax, we have Camera Intersections all over… and yet! I fail to get tickets.

      Why is that? Oh! It’s because I don’t speed or run red lights.

      And yet… I still get to my destination no slower than you. Hmm.

    18. #18 |  The_Chef | 

      Hey Bob, you in your car doing exactly the speed limit (Not one bit over, and me in my little broke ass Civic doing 7 over every posted limit. Physics says I get to the destination faster.

      Your final point is so full of shit that only select members of congress could shovel it all.

      Physics > Bob

    19. #19 |  billy-jay | 

      Bob, I was with you until you tried to turn your post into a smear of libertarians.

      Screw you. Get the hell out of here and don’t come back until you have two braincells to rub together. You and your collectivist hive mind need to evolve to the point where you are capable of rational thought.

    20. #20 |  Steve S | 

      Red light story appears to be an urban legend:

    21. #21 |  Chris K | 

      The thing about 3rd hand smoke exposure is that the dangers of 2nd hand smoke have never been proven; the “statistical evidence” is just that: numbers jerryrigged to scare and sell smoking cessation products. Seriously, they claim what? Second hand smoke increases the risk of cancers by 20%. OK, but what’re the risks of a non-smoker getting cancer to beging with? Average. And a 20% chance + average is still more or less average. Take a look at who funds these studies and wild claims – Robert Wood Johnson is one huge purse in the anti-smoking campaign. Their non-profit is funded primarily with Johnson & Johnson dividends, which they receive at 1% tax as a NPO. Who makes Nicorette? Johnson & Johnson.

      I don’t dispute the adverse health effects of smoking, but it’s a person’s choice to do that to themselves. I completely dispute anyone’s claims to protect someone from their self.

      Finally, by way of analogy, the National Cancer Institute published a study that women using Listerine (and other mouthwashes with 25%+ ABV) had a 90% higher risk of cancer than those who did not, and men a 60% risk. But what did the institute conclude? They said the findings “do not firmly establish the risk.” Cf. the second hand smokescreen.


      It’s a nuisance, but tough shit.

    22. #22 |  thomasblair | 


      Let me get this straight. When you BLOW THROUGH A RED LIGHT you put your hand over your face so the camera can’t nab you?

      Fuck! Can you read or are you willfully obtuse?

      Try again:

      I leave a little gap between my fingers so I can still see.

      Fail > Bob

    23. #23 |  Cynical In CA | 

      #67 | Bob | January 7th, 2009 at 1:17 am

      “Let me get this straight. When you BLOW THROUGH A RED LIGHT you put your hand over your face so the camera can’t nab you? For the love of god, I hope I don’t ever have to drive anywhere near you. You guys crack me up.”

      First, it’s ok that you have a small penis.

      Second, it has been proved that many municipalities contract with private red-light camera companies working under a profit motive, so there is incentive to generate as much revenue as possible. This leads to nasty little tactics like 3-second yellow lights and camera “malfunctions” where a picture is taken even if you weren’t in the intersection.

      Nowhere in my post did I admit that I run red lights. If a yellow light is only 3 seconds in duration, it is practically impossible to stop in time. Stopping short can be just as dangerous as running the light, as you might get rear-ended. Very dangerous if you’re driving a Ford Pinto.

      And in one of the classic examples of perverse incentives, drivers are now being trained to slam on their brakes when the light turns yellow, causing more accidents than if they proceeded through the red light.

      BTW, going through a red light is not dangerous per se — it depends on how long the light has been red. Less than one second, no big deal. The other light isn’t even green yet. No oncoming traffic, no big deal.

      Just to bring it on home to libertarianism, Bob, red-light and speeding cameras remove individual judgment from the equation. No matter how f’ed up people may be, taking away their judgment can only make it worse.

      Please do a better job of thinking next time, Bob.

    24. #24 |  claude | 

      Ever notice how claims like the one in colorado r always in states where they actually have a winter? See folks, back over 20 years ago there was a study done in colorado. That study also dealt with heart attack rates based on admissions to the hospital. Had nothing to do with smoking tho. The study was comparing heart attack rates in colorado winter vs summer. Turns out admissions to the hospital were far higher in the winter as opposed to the summer. The study concluded that shoveling snow in the morning when males r more susceptible to heart attacks (something to do with higher testosterone levels in the morning) was the reason for the drastic differences. How does this relate to smoking bans? Well, in colorado the study they were using compared those rates in an 18 month period b4 and 18 month period after the ban. Yeah, the 18 month pre-ban data included 2 winters and 1 summer. The post ban data included 2 summers and 1 winter. In other words, youre not likely to see the same study in Hawaii. Those antismokers sure r sneaky.

    25. #25 |  SusanK | 

      About red light/speed cameras: they’re talking about them in my neck of the woods (sometimes it’s good to be behind the times in Nebraska). It usually involves a change in the law to state that there is a presumption that the registered owner was driving. They can also change the way these have to be served, such as mailing to last registered address is sufficient service.

    26. #26 |  Bob | 

      “Hey Bob, you in your car doing exactly the speed limit (Not one bit over, and me in my little broke ass Civic doing 7 over every posted limit. Physics says I get to the destination faster.”

      I’m curious as to why your “Broke ass Civic” Is somehow superior to whatever I drive. If it wasn’t. you wouldn’t have pointed it out, hmm?

      As for “Cynical in CA”

      “First, it’s ok that you have a small penis.”

      I actually do have a fairly small penis. I have no idea how you know that, but it really doesn’t matter.

      The rest of your crap is just stupid. How about driving more safely instead? Hmm?

    27. #27 |  Cynical In CA | 

      It was a good guess, Bob.

      Loved your rebuttal. Guess you forfeit.