Morning Links

Thursday, February 5th, 2009
  • Ah, the righteous indignation of a sports commentator. Yes, Steve Czaban. Michael Phelps is a “loser.” If only he weren’t into marijuana! Instead of becoming a 14-time Olympic gold medalist with $100 million in endorsement deals, he could have become a pudgy, grumpy, self-righteous, C-list sports commentator.
  • In 2008, the red light cameras in a Texas town with a population of 38,500 issued 40,000 citations.
  • Cop rams family van full of kids, draws gun and arrests father because after she flipped her lights on, he drove one mile to find a safe spot to pull over.
  • I understand Gates’ point, but technically, isn’t this assault? A very light form of assault, yes. But still.
  • Dad records son on the way home from a trip to the dentist. Cute. And very funny. “Is this real life?”
  • CNN actually consults a libertarian (egad!)–Harvard’s Jeff Miron–for ideas on stimulating the economy.
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  • 35 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Nick T | 

      Wow, that cop ramming story is so absurd.

      The officer then says “if you keep driving what do you think is gonna happen?” Umm, I honestly believe that if I was driving anywhere in the neighborhood of 30 miles and hour the police would simply pursue me for miles and miles knowing that eventually I will have to stop. I would never expect to be rammed by cops if my speed was 30 MPH. Plus this guy was literally driving 10 MPH and his break lights were on when she hit him.

      Just another example of cops who just “can’t wait” to get all Michael Bay on somebody’s ass and try out their fancy training maneuvers (“Ooooh, PIT! PIT!).

      And right on the cue th epolice chief says “the officer followed procedures perfectly and acted in a totally frickin’ sweet manner. yay!”


    2. #2 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

      To all our law enforcement friends and neighbors

      Life is NOT like:

      Playstation or X-box games
      Tom Clancy novels
      The Shield, Miami Vice, or Cop Rock
      Any major motion picture
      or any other work of fiction, fantasy, or deludedness.
      Please, wake up, smell the coffee, and realize 90% of you are traffic enforcement officers and beat cops. Your vocation will never be heroic nor exciting. Cope, and leave us folks alone.

    3. #3 |  Ben R. | 

      I imagine the TED participants sign a waiver at some point.

      I don’t really care for some of the shock value gimmicks that are used. I believe last year someone brought in a human brain that really didn’t add a whole lot to the presentation.

    4. #4 |  nemo | 

      Bill Gates is like a lot of nerds (not geeks) only much wealthier. No real sense of social interaction…and no understanding why being threatened with possibly-infected mosquitoes wouldn’t endear him to his audience.

      But then, Gates is responsible for the misery of many a Help Desk analyst or technician trying to keep Redmond’s clusterf-ed OS’s going. I may make my bread-and-butter from doing so, but it doesn’t mean I like it. This latest stunt is pure Bill…

    5. #5 |  Aresen | 

      Sports commentators are the lowest form of reporter. Most of them are failed jocks who couldn’t make the cut for their high school team.

      When they aren’t writing puff pieces for the local team, they’re shilling for the government to fork out a billiion bucks so some billioniare will consent to bring a franchise to their city.

      I’d suggest Phelps give Czaban a moon, but Czaban would probably get a stiffy.

    6. #6 |  nicole | 

      Re: first link:
      “That tickles a spot in my brain, for some reason… the yellow alarm light goes on when I think “Gee, my entire existence, I can never call the cops, and I have to hope to God no one else ever calls the cops…. Hmmm….” Not sure I wanna live like that. Put me down for “no” on that…”

      And he thinks this is because people will be mad if you “come between them and their weed.” Um, how about it’s because drug users know that they don’t get the protection of the police, just like prostitutes can’t get their pimps charged with assault. Whole classes of people that just lose the protection of the law because their voluntary choices about their own bodies make them “losers” according to jerks like this.

    7. #7 |  Wayne | 

      Reading that story about the cop ramming the van while the guy was looking for a safe place to pull over — kind of makes me want to look for the least safest place to pull over just to break balls.

    8. #8 |  Nando | 

      Regarding the cop ramming the minivan:

      I’ve done what he did twice and both times the officer thanked me and didn’t issue me a ticket. Both times were in California and I drove about a mile, maybe a mile and a half, each time until I could safely pull over. As soon as I saw the lights I turned my hazzard lights on and slowed down. Then, when I did finally pull over, both cops asked me why I had driven so far before pulling over. My answer both times was the same, “Officer, I felt that we were not in a safe location and I wanted to pull over somewhere your life wouldn’t be in danger when you came up to the window.”

      Both cops thanked me and they both gave me verbal warnings.

    9. #9 |  billy-jay | 

      All this fiscal stimulus crap is giving me a headache. People who are getting their panties in a bunch because bailout CEOs are lavishly spending that money on bonuses, frivolities, or the like have the bailout to blame. The free market was about to put those losers out of a job and the government prevented that.

      I also like that Obama is talking about capping CEO compensation for future bailouts, so that there is some accountability. I think that’s a good idea if there are to be any more bailouts (and there will be, I’m sure), but it doesn’t go quite far enough. Since we’re looking at massive deficits, I think we ought to be scaling back federal employees’ compensation, as well. Let’s start at the top with Congress, the President and VP, and Cabinet members. Especially since those clowns are so bad at paying taxes.

    10. #10 |  MassHole | 

      The lady cop was over reacting and losing her cool. She kept yelling to put his hands up when they already were. The PIT maneuver was clearly unnecessary when its obvious he was stopping. The shoulder appeared to be full of snow piles, so I don’t blame the guy for waiting to pull over. Of course we got the standard “followed procedures, did nothing wrong” bullshit they always throw out. I hope he sues and at the very least gets his car repair paid for. The cop either needs to be on desk duty or some other line of work, because if this is the way she reacts in this situation, I would have serious concerns about her ability to handle really difficult situation.

    11. #11 |  Eric Hanneken | 

      This isn’t the first time Jeffrey Miron has appeared on See also “Bankruptcy, not bailout, is the right answer” (Read the comments and weep), and “Why this bailout is as bad as the last one.”

    12. #12 |  John Jenkins | 

      Shouldn’t libertarian ideas for stimulating the economy be pretty much limited to fixing the wrecked incentives that the bank/Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac regulatory regimes created?

      Hint: If a derivative security representing one or more CDO’s can somehow be rated higher than the underlying obligations and therefore marked differently on your balance sheet, something is wrong.

      I am still amazed that the obvious rule that no derivative security could be rated higher than the median underlying obligation was never in place.

      Everyone is bitching about greed as though we can do something about self-interest, rather than talking about aligning interests.

      Now sure would be a great time to get rid of the retrograde corporate entity level tax. I’d take that in return for a slight increase in the income tax rate, because at least we’d be matching the levy with the tax incidence at that point.

    13. #13 |  John Jenkins | 

      @ #10 MassHole: Check out Atwater v. Lago Vista, 532 U.S. 318 (2001). I think the police can make a decent argument that her actions were reasonable (not that I think they are objectively reasonable) under the very deferential standard.

    14. #14 |  Brandon Bowers | 

      No one with a Wisconsin accent should be allowed to be a cop. You just can’t take that accent seriously, especially when it’s accompanied by shrill screaming like in the video there. I would’ve gotten shot for laughing my ass off as soon as that chick started overreacting after she rammed my car. Can women have a Napoleon complex? I’m surprised there wasn’t a camera malfunction accompanied by Salter “slipping” when he questioned her use of excessive force and what really seems like road (or roid?) rage. I was astonished that they actually gave him a ticket for that first lane change where he didn’t signal to get out of the cops way. That’s just insult to injur… umm, vehicular assault.

    15. #15 |  Gonzo | 

      Well, on the upside:

      That kid is fucking toooooasted. Nice.

    16. #16 |  Thalience | 

      Mosquito assault? Maybe if the mosquitoes released were actually infected with malaria….

      But, realistically, where are you gonna get a box of mosquitoes from? My guess is a bio-science supply company that breeds them in clean conditions.

    17. #17 |  heretic | 

      I do not think Miron can favor a carbon tax and still claim to be a libertarian. Can we get a new spokesman?

    18. #18 |  Michael | 

      Dad says,”Kinda felt good?”! Now that is child abuse?!! Encouraging the kid to like it when he gets high! I wonder if dad will get mad, later on, when the kid decides to smoke a “little weed”! What are we telling the kids?! I hope , seriously, this video does not get him in trouble, from the nanny state.

      I refuse to read anymore Michael Phelps trash. But maybe it will be good fro legalization. Maybe we can get it up over 51%!

      Cop behavior…more of the same. It did not result in a death, but I feel it relates, very closely, to the other type of cop behavior we have all been discussing, on this blog. Did you see the ratings on the responses? The rating scales at the bottom were really revealing. Anyone who came on acting like the cops behavior was correct was voted down at a 90% rate! One commenter talked about a friend’s dad, (cop) being killed when standing on the side of the road, at a traffic stop. Apparently, that is what they teach in driver’s ed classes. Go to a safe place!

      I know how that red light camera is getting so many! When driving in a city where there were stop lines, I noted, daily, that NO ONE was stopping behind the stop lines, as the law states. The rules of the road say, in Indiana, in an instance where you can’t see, you come to a complete stop first, then pull up. Simple, the people were breaking the law, that most of us have done all the time. The cameras just catch it. But, it does not improve safety, at all. It does add to the cities’ funds, though! People will learn! The bad guy, they thought they were going to catch, was us! I thought bringing in jury trials were great! They would have been a complete waste of time and money for the city! Most all would be “proven” guilty. But, they had extra revenue from these lights, did they not?!

    19. #19 |  Marty | 

      about the cop ramming the family- ‘ A one-mile pursuit that ended on a side street off I-94’ that’s what, about a minute?!!!

      all pretense of protecting the public is gone. they need a new uniform- maybe they should dress like the tax collectors in Hagar the Horrible.

      SCREW the police.

    20. #20 |  claude | 

      Regarding the “Cop rams family van full of kids”, which comes from my neck of the woods…. one thing that i always look for on the strib site is the number of people who are agreeing with the comments that take issue with the officer. It tells me that people are starting to wake up and take notice. This is a good thing. Seeing comments on strib site that criticize the cops and noting the 230 of 349 people agree with that statement and then seeing 34 of 287 people agreeing with statements saying “the officer was just doing her job”, makes me smile. People are starting to take notice. Is the tide turning? I sure hope so.

    21. #21 |  Aresen | 

      @Marty # 18

      One mile at 10 to 30 mph: Between 2 to 6 mins. Obviously the chase was going on too long and she felt she had to end it before things got dangerous. :)


    22. #22 |  MassHole | 

      John Jenkins: I looked at the case and fail to see how it is applicable.

    23. #23 |  ChrisD | 

      Wouldn’t it be cheaper and safer to create a police Winter X-Games, fly them all out to Breckenridge, lodge them for a week and let them work off their testosterone there? Then maybe they can come back and be good police w/o trying to ramp up their adrenaline levels at the citizens’ expense.

    24. #24 |  Aresen | 

      #23 | ChrisD | February 5th, 2009 at 2:46 pm
      Wouldn’t it be cheaper and safer to create a police Winter X-Games, fly them all out to Breckenridge, lodge them for a week and let them work off their testosterone there? Then maybe they can come back and be good police w/o trying to ramp up their adrenaline levels at the citizens’ expense.

      Yeah, but where would they find volunteers for the “Another Isolated Incident Event”?

      And PETA might get upset about the “Shoot the Dog” event.

      On the bright side, the big 3 automakers probably have lots of unsold vehicles that could be donated for the “Ram the Car” event.

    25. #25 |  Cynical In CA | 

      “Dad records son on the way home from a trip to the dentist. Cute. And very funny. “Is this real life?””

      Michael kinda beat me to it above, but I am interested in a little thought experiment.

      The dentist is licensed to adminster mind-altering drugs to children. It matters not whether that drug is legal or illegal from the child’s standpoint, his mind has been altered.

      Why are we amused at the child coming out from the effects of legal anaesthesia, but even the most diehard classical liberals among us would cringe if the father had given his son a joint and recorded the effects? Or am I wrong — would any of us cringe?

      Honestly, and you know how I feel about things, I cringed just performing the thought experiment. I could never give my kids a joint.

      I have been successfully conditioned.

    26. #26 |  davidstvz | 

      “And right on the cue th epolice chief says ‘the officer followed procedures perfectly and acted in a totally frickin’ sweet manner. yay!’ Assholes.”

      They don’t want to hang a cop out to dry publicly, but I’m really hopeful that in most such cases the chief chews the guy out good once they’re behind closed doors (which isn’t perfect, but it’s better than nothing).

    27. #27 |  Cynical In CA | 

      “The free market was about to put those losers out of a job and the government prevented that.”

      Billy-Jay, what’s the “free market?” I think I read about that in an economics textbook one time a long time ago, but I’ve never seen it in real life. Have you?

    28. #28 |  Zargon | 

      Well, that thought experiment is a little cheaty. Presumably, the kid didn’t get the legal anesthesia for the purpose of entertaining the father. I cringe at the thought of giving a kid any mind altering drugs for the purpose of the adult’s personal amusement, whether they were legal or not.

      If the kid decided himself to smoke a joint for his enjoyment, or was using one for some medical reason, I think I’d be okay chuckling at the effects.

    29. #29 |  Wind Chime Alarm Clock | Outdoor Wind Chimes Blog | 

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    30. #30 |  John Jenkins | 

      @ #22 | MassHole: If the Supreme Court said it was not excessive arrest a woman for an “offense,” for which incarceration was *not* a penalty, I think it’s an easy analogy to ramming someone whom the officer says she believes was trying to evade her not being excessive either.

      As I said, it’s a very deferential standard.

    31. #31 |  Cynical In CA | 

      Excellent revision to the thought experiment, Zargon. I’m with you there. But my wife would definitely not be chuckling. She gets uptight about such things. Probably blame me for having weed around for the kids to find. OK, I’m done with thinking for today …

    32. #32 |  EdinTally | 

      #30 John…Your interpretation of the case is wrong as is your application of it to this incident.

    33. #33 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

      #2 Mike Leatherwood:
      “Please, wake up, smell the coffee, and realize 90% of you are traffic enforcement officers and beat cops. Your vocation will never be heroic nor exciting. Cope, and leave us folks alone.”

      That’s a good point, Mike. A bit snarkier than I would have worded it, but basically true. The late Carl Klockars (Criminal Justice Professor, U of Delaware) discussed this problem.

      Policing has been sold to people, including potential recruits like me, as something it is not. My generation has been exposed to COPS and other shows that make it look like the job is wall to wall car chases and foot pursuits. I should note that I stopped watching COPS and similar shows not long after I graduated from college (Crim. Justice major) and started working in healthcare security. I couldn’t take the bullshit anymore. If you are constantly getting involved in chases and fights, you are working in a war zone or you are fucking up and making things worse than they need to be. This is not why I became interested in policing. Sadly for me, however, this is the image that is being conveyed to the public.

      Some potential recurits, however, react differently from me. They yearn for constant action. When they get on the job and realize that they have been lied to, they burn out, or they gravitate toward action jobs (SWAT, Narcotics, etc.). “Fuck this paperwork!” “I’m not a social worker!” These are a couple of the phrases you will hear from the “action cop.” They haven’t made the time to develop the discipline and self-control needed to be a REAL POlice, and they screw up. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If a police applicant tells you he’s in it for the action, he is going to be trouble! Encourage him to be a fitness trainer or a stunt man. Just keep him away from your local P.D..

    34. #34 |  supercat | 

      They haven’t made the time to develop the discipline and self-control needed to be a REAL Police, and they screw up.

      I wish more people would recognize this. Many cops seem to think that the purpose of “announcing” themselves before a raid is to earn the approval of judges. They don’t really want the target of their raid to hear them (lest he have the audacity to open the door before they can bash it down). They just want to be able to claim they “announced”.

      IMHO, the world would be a much better and safer place for all honest people–including honest cops–if it were expected that that cops who bash down people’s doors without either making a REAL effort to announce themselves IN SUCH FASHION AS TO BE HEARD, or having a darned good reason not to make such effort, would be shot dead on the spot. Of course, policing might not be as much “fun”, but that sort of “fun” is something I’d rather the cops not have.

    35. #35 |  The Liberty Papers »Blog Archive » Wisconsin Police Woman Endangers Family | 

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