Morning Links

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
  • The St. Pete Times runs a terrific in-depth investigation into Scientology.
  • Denver cop suspended for pulling gun on McDonald’s worker who took too long with his order.
  • Count me among those who find it irritating when someone checks their Blackberry as you’re talking to them. Not sure why there would be “debate” over whether or not this is rude.
  • World rarest insect found on ocean-protruding rock.
  • Iranian government trying to prevent Neda Soltan from becoming a martyr. I’d say they’re way too late. Meanwhile, more terrible stories emerge about others killed during the protests.
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  • 33 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Mario | 

      The guy playing with his iPhone in the New York Times article was playing a “racing game” while the meeting was going on. I’m sure he’s not the only one.

      Some years ago, a friend of mine told me what went on during lectures at RPI, a respected engineering school in Troy, NY. Everyone had their laptops on during lectures and surfed the Web, IM’ed to their friends, played networked games (whatever the equivalent to World of Warcraft was at the time), and looked up from their laptops only when it seemed the professor might be saying something “important.”

      Don’t ask me why this was allowed. But I’m thinking that these students — and others of their generation — are now in the work world. We now can see, first hand, their antisocial behavior and just how clueless they are about it.

      To them, it’s not antisocial — that kind of solipsism is normal.

    2. #2 |  Boyd Durkin | 


      SWP is like gravy to the biscuit of police abuse. The hot fudge on top of the ice cream of complete supremecy of all things and people of the state.

    3. #3 |  Dave Krueger | 

      You know, if I pulled a gun at a McDonald’s, my company would fire me so fast, I wouldn’t have time to clean out my desk. Their perspective goes like this: “This guy has just provided irrefutable evidence that he is unstable. If we let this moron back into the building and he injures one of the other employees, it will be our fault, we will be sued, and it will cost us a lot of money. We need to cut this loose immediately.”

      You’ll notice, they don’t have a policy where I work that allows a person who threatens someone with a gun to stay on the payroll pending the outcome of the case, as if it might turn out that it was all just a misunderstanding…

    4. #4 |  Kristen | 

      The Scientology story is HUGE. Ex members OTHER than those interviewed have been telling the same stories for years and years, and now the MSM has picked up on it and corroborated the stories with very high ranking former church officials. Rinder and Rathbun were as high in the church you could get short of David Miscaige himself.

    5. #5 |  perlhaqr | 

      Ok, so, I wanna know what’s so gauche about ordering out for pizza. Pizza is yummy!

      I’m with you on the rude, though. I’ve got a friend who is just absolutely addicted to his iphone. I went to dinner with him and another friend and he didn’t put the damned thing down, except for when he set it on the table and looked at it while he was eating his meal.

    6. #6 |  Dave Krueger | 

      Neda is going to be the Tank Man of this event. She’ll be the most iconic figure to come out of it.

    7. #7 |  Aresen | 

      From the Denver cop story:

      Both officers are assigned to Denver International Airport although only one has been placed on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the case.

      As Dave K. noted, we “civilians” would have been fired. We’d also be in custody.

      The story also says that they drove off without paying, but doesn’t mention anything about an armed robbery charge, which any of us would be facing in like circumstances.

      I hope the kid they pulled the gun on has a good civil lawyer. He is probably in for a lot of harrassment if he pursues his case.

    8. #8 |  Mattocracy | 

      Scientology makes it hard for me to be a live and let live Libertartian. A corporation that is a cult to it’s employees is as bad a government that is a cult for it’s citizens. I wonder if Kim Jong Il would make a good scientologist?

    9. #9 |  Eric | 

      I agree that pulling out a Blackberry while talking to a friend is rude, but that’s different from what Mario’s talking about in a college classroom. My opinion is this: the students are paying for it. If they want to waste their time by not paying attention, they can feel free to, as long as they’re not disrupting the class. If the professor made the whole class period something important that they actually needed to know, then they’d pay attention the whole time. But as long as the professor is wasting their time that they’re paying for, I don’t really care if they pull out a laptop and spend their time doing something else that they feel is a better use of their time. I spent some classes in college doing sudoku because it was a worthless class, and others I paid attention every class period the whole period – because the professor made it worthwhile to do so.

      I’m even inclined to say the same thing about high school, which the kids aren’t paying for… if the teachers made it worthwhile, the kids would pay attention. Trying to fix that with an authoritative “Pay attention or else” isn’t going to make them actually learn. And it’s twice as bad when a college professor does it.

      It’s rude, yes. But I think it’s also rude for a professor to waste a class period that a student is paying upwards of $200 for with useless information.

    10. #10 |  Hamburglar007 | 


      If you pulled out a gun on a McDonalds employee, you wouldn’t have time to clean out your desk, you would be sitting in a jail cell, and wouldn’t be getting out any time soon.

      I find it disappointing that there isn’t more outrage over these double standards. Cop pulls gun on someone doing their job, gets suspended with pay; commoner does it, goes away for a long time. Celebrity beats the shit out of girlfriend, gets slap on wrist; garden variety asshole does it, goes to jail.

    11. #11 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #7 Aresen

      The story also says that they drove off without paying, but doesn’t mention anything about an armed robbery charge, which any of us would be facing in like circumstances.

      I dismissed the fact that they drove off without paying because I assume there’s a strong likelihood that they did that regularly. I didn’t connect that with pulling the gun which suddenly transforms it into armed robbery. That was a good catch.

      Whenever cops get into trouble, it always takes forever for them to actually be charged. I think the strategy is to wait and see if the publicity subsides so they can sweep it under the rug.

    12. #12 |  Bernard | 

      I’m outraged that the cop was suspended solely for instilling the right level of fear and submission in an uncooperative member of the public at large.

      If we start suspending cops for this it won’t be long before they get suspended for shooting dogs or falsifying reports.

      The slope has rarely been slipperier.

    13. #13 |  seeker6079 | 

      It’s not as if students hadn’t been drifting off into la la land before PDAs and laptops. A former gf of mine sat in on one of my law school classes once, sitting in a section where she could see me and my prof. She was amused as hell because I seemed to be totally zoned until the prof came off tangent and started to talk on-point. She said it was hilarious: my head pivoted towards the prof, my eyes came into focus with an almost audible CLICK, and my pen started flying across the page.

      This is ’89. Trust me. These students aren’t doing anything new.

    14. #14 |  Don McPherson | 

      Ponder this: If Iranian civilians were allowed to possess firearms how much less shit would they have to put up with?

    15. #15 |  claude | 

      “Iranian government trying to prevent Neda Soltan from becoming a martyr.’

      Then perhaps they shouldnt have made her one. RIP Neda. :-(

    16. #16 |  Aresen | 

      8 | Mattocracy | June 23rd, 2009 at 11:04 am

      I wonder if Kim Jong Il would make a good scientologist?

      Let’s put him in a volcano and find out.

    17. #17 |  Aresen | 

      @ Bernard # 12

      Note that they failed to beat the crap out of the kid, pin him to the ground and taser him.

      If they don’t follow the proper procedure, they shouldn’t be in the Schutz-Staffel police.

    18. #18 |  Hannah | 

      The Blackberry article isn’t debating whether or not using one is due to people being board. Its asking if its rude to be using one when people are talking to you. Whether or not that person is putting on a presentation, or personally one on one doesn’t matter. Its considered in good manners to give that person your attention, not be flicking screens playing racing games on your newest gizmo. If I’m having a conversation with someone (perspective client or good friend) I don’t want to see them taking out half a dozen pieces of technology and start ignoring me while hitting buttons. Some of you point out that presentations can be boring, but think of it from the presenters perspective. Why putting on a good presentation if all your going to get back in return is a bunch of bowed heads hitting buttons.

    19. #19 |  t. reed | 

      Krueger at #3 is wrong.

      If Krueger pulls a gun at McD’s, his employer wouldn’t fire him. His employer would find that this is a “training issue.”

      In this particular case, police internal investigation will conclude that the cop was only “cleaning his firearm” while waiting respectfully for his food. You say he was “pointing” the firearm. I say he was “holding it up to the light” to check for dirt, etc.

      Maybe the poor cop was having a McD’s Hambergerler post traumatic flash-back.

    20. #20 |  Marty | 

      re the terrible Iran stories- ‘Upon learning of his son’s death, the elder Mr. Alipour was told the family had to pay an equivalent of $3,000 as a “bullet fee”—a fee for the bullet used by security forces—before taking the body back, relatives said.’

      In addition to paying the salaries of the men who murdered his son, he also has to pay a fee for them to murder him… what a horrific example of govt logic.

    21. #21 |  Tokin42 | 

      RE: Iran:

      Obama statement today: Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history

      Was that really so hard to say? I’m expecting apologies from a lot of you a-holes (sarcasm)

    22. #22 |  Frank | 

      The only way this crap with cops ends is to ensure that they don’t go home after they pull those stunts. Prison, hospital or morgue, I no longer care, as long as they’re off the street and unable to terrorize people anymore.

      Lawsuits don’t work, disciplinary actions is a joke, it’s time to rub their noses in the shit they leave on the floor.

    23. #23 |  Marta Rose | 

      our new pastor who starts in august was recently leading the congregation in devotions at a “meet and greet” a couple of weekends ago. he was talking to us, and as he did, he pulled out his blackberry and started fiddling with it. i could see the looks of dismay traveling around the room until he asked for a volunteer to read the scripture, and then handed her the blackberry! there was a palpable sigh of relief!

    24. #24 |  colson | 

      @Iran: Funny how the Islamic “revolution” kinda takes on the guise of the Shah’s rule after a few decades. In other words, they traded “Shah” for “Ayatollah” and got the same bag of nuts.

    25. #25 |  KBCraig | 

      When trying to talk to a texting-obsessed person, only a strong belief in the Non-Aggression Principle keeps me from slapping the phone out of their hands and stomping it to pieces.

    26. #26 |  Mike | 

      Hey now, I went to RPI, of course this was before the age of laptops but I would say that may be a different situation. There are two problems with high tech schools and paying attn.

      First a lot of lecture time is spent handling student questions on math/science concepts. As such the speed that portion of the class is covered is dictated by the people who just don’t get it. As one who normally picks things up quickly, these are a complete waste of time.

      A bigger problem with technology schools is the professors all have 2 jobs. One is teaching, and the other is research. Research is what brings in the money (from a professor’s perspective) and teaching is the grind you have to do. So there were several extremely bad teachers who presumbably were bringing in big research bucks. I don’t feel sorry for them at all.

      Of course in my case I usually just skipped the lectures unless I had to be in the area anyway.

    27. #27 |  Mattocracy | 

      #6 | Dave Krueger | June 23rd, 2009 at 10:56 am
      Neda is going to be the Tank Man of this event. She’ll be the most iconic figure to come out of it.

      I hope you’re right.

    28. #28 |  Aresen | 

      @ colson # 24

      Read Orwell’s Animal Farm

    29. #29 |  Zargon | 

      Scientology makes it hard for me to be a live and let live Libertartian. A corporation that is a cult to it’s employees is as bad a government that is a cult for it’s citizens.

      You don’t have to be a member of a cult, but you do have to be a subject of a government.

      If you defy your government, you’re dead. If you defy your cult, you have at least a chance of defending yourself or escaping, except to the extent the cult borrows the power of the government.

    30. #30 |  Michael Chaney | 

      In the cop story, they also drove off without the food, so it wasn’t robbery. Pulling a gun on somebody like that is still a crime.

      As usual, I’m as concerned that his buddy isn’t also being charged, as he should have done something.

    31. #31 |  Aspasia | 

      As a recent former business school student (changed my major), our professor allowed laptops in the classroom. About 75% of the time I was reading articles here at The Agitator, checking email or on Facebook. Didn’t need to take notes because there was nothing that needed to be written down. I finished the class with an A-, and a minus only because I ditched a couple of times because, well, I knew I wasn’t missing anything.

    32. #32 |  Blackberry Etiquette, Pt. II | Matt Eventoff | 

      […] at The Agitator, they question why there is a debate at all: “Count me among those who find it irritating […]

    33. #33 |  Cynical in CA | 

      “Upon learning of his son’s death, the elder Mr. Alipour was told the family had to pay an equivalent of $3,000 as a “bullet fee”—a fee for the bullet used by security forces—before taking the body back, relatives said.”

      Behold the State in all its awesomeness.

      The State will kill your child and bill you for the bullet.

      Behold the awesome power of the State!