Morning Links

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Angry moms want to ban ice cream trucks from playgrounds.

U.S. life expectancy hits all-time high, deaths from cancer, heart disease, HIV all down. You’d never know it from the health care debate. Or the obesity debate. I opine on our world life expectancy ranking here.

• The blog Classically Liberal has more difficult details on the Bernard Baran case I wrote about earlier this week, as well as some general observations on the spate of child care sex abuse cases from the 1980s.

MSNBC shows tight shot of Town Hall protester packing heat, suggests racism against Obama might why people are carrying guns to these events. Problem is, they needed the tight shot, because the guy with the gun was black.

Declan McCullagh is a heading up a new civil liberties section with the CBS News website. We need more of this.

Giant robot cage fish farms may soon roam the seas.

• PayPal continues to be evil. My article on how the once-great company fell from grace, or rather was pushed from grace by government, here.

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78 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Fluffy | 

    We also have to factor in media bias problem regarding what’s normal and for whom. Freaked out right-wingers taking guns to meetings is simply going to get less negative press (although maybe not less reporting) simply because there is a default assumption that “that’s not what they do”.

    Come on, this is just fucking absurd.

    The media bias goes the opposite way. Public protest is an accepted tactic of the left wing to the point where the standard leftist complaint is that the media doesn’t even cover or notice their activities. But if more than two right wing people show up anywhere and shout, it’s “thuggish intimidation” and every leftist in the country wets their fucking pants.

    There is absolutely no way any reasonable or fair person could look at the way the health care protests have been covered and not conclude that the media has collectively decided that it’s OK for leftists to protest but not OK for rightists to protest.

    Even when leftist protests result in riots and property damage [for example, the anti-WTO protests] the media narrative is always, “A well-meaning protest got out of hand because of troublemakers”. It is never, ever, “thuggish intimidation is sweeping the land and threatening the republic itself”.

  2. #2 |  seeker6079 | 

    Get real, Fluffy. The anti-war protests early in the Iraq war drew often drew hundreds of thousands of people, and were scantily covered. Often, when they were covered it was to point the camera at the tiny minority of batshit anarkiddies. The narrative isn’t, as you wishfully thinking state, “A well-meaning protest got out of hand because of troublemakers”, it was and is “people oppose free trade / the WTO… and it’s these masked property-smashers”. Oddly enough the tens of thousands of well-dressed, well-behaved protesters behind them just never seem to get mentioned.

    HAve you forgotten that, for example, NYPD was conducting systematic sweeps and mass arrests of nonviolent protests groups in advance of the 2004 GOP convention. They were detained (often without food, water, toilets or access to counsel) long enough so that they couldn’t actually protest, and then released with perfunctory grunts that no charges would be laid.

    I repeat: How many people brought guns to the social security town halls? Zip that we know of. How many people are bringing guns to the health care town halls? More each time, it seems.

    Why open-carry a weapon to a political event filled with unarmed people who disagree with you? There can only be one message: “I disagree. Very strongly. I’m armed. You’re not. You work it out.”

  3. #3 |  Bee | 

    Do the people claiming the TownHall protesters are racist actually know any elderly people? It is just possible that they feel genuinely alarmed and angry at the thought of lessened or restricted health care.

    It’s up to those seeking change to persuade those who are affected by the change, and whose buy-in they need. Calling nervous old people racist is not going to help with the persuading bit. This whole endeavor seems to be being handled very badly, and is proceeding much too quickly for people’s comfort level.

    I’m amused by people who are frightened of open carry. Big props to the Obama administration for not getting its panties in a wad over this red herring.

  4. #4 |  omar | 

    @#48 | dhex

    oh hell! i’m sure as hell never going back to the chip shop for a deep-fried cadbury egg. bastards.

    i’m starting to think park slope is competing for most selfish neighborhood in the world. it’s me me me, everyone do what i want in the way i want it. the words feeling of “entitlement” doesn’t come close to covering it.

    gag me.

  5. #5 |  flukebucket | 

    I have only been to Arizona once. Tempe to be exact. Never saw a single person carrying a gun the 4 days I was there.

    Of course health care was not being debated at the time either.

  6. #6 |  Dave W. | 

    From a Catholic perspective, in Professor Dershowitz’s hypo, Justice Scalia would be in an analogous position to Pontias Pilate. Is there an official Catholic teaching on the moral status of Pilate’s decision? Even as a Catholic, I don’t know, although I have a guess.

  7. #7 |  seeker6079 | 

    Bee:
    One of the things that frustrates progressives is that it’s damned difficult to get your message out. The right to be on TV pretty much stops in the light blue section of the Democratic party and doesn’t move any further to the left. Wanna talk about nonexistent government death panels? You’re on Meet the Press. Wanna talk about how the insurance industry has had de facto death panels for years? Get lost, DFH.

    Look by way of comparison at leftie Amanda Marcotte and conservative Ann Coulter. Coulter takes a very aggressive approach, refuses to let the interviewer control his own interview and spouts right-wing views and is a talk show darling. Marcotte was once interviewed on mainstream TV and.. .wait for it … took an aggressive approach, refused to let the interviewer control his own interview and presented progressive or left-wing ideas and arguments. After that all of her other interviews were cancelled.

    The notion that a large, corporatist, capitalist media is somehow megaphone central for lefty progressive wealth-distributing ideas is ludicrous and convincingly debunked by a systematic observation of the American media.

  8. #8 |  Mattocracy | 

    I’m kind of geting tired of the insuation that people are anti Obamacare becuase they are rascist deep inside. Is that any different than saying that people are anti war becuase they are secretely terrorists?

    I have to agree with Fluffy. Seeker, I’m not sure what news you were watching during 2003-2004, but war protestors were covered fairly well. The only news programing that was snarky about it was Fox.

    The Denver police did the same thing for the DNC convention in 2008 as the the NYPD did for the GOP in ’04. The only news site that mentioned Denver’s beat down of protestors was…well, the agitator. The media sucks, I’m with you. Sometimes its biased. And sometimes they are just plain inept.

  9. #9 |  PiledhighDeep | 

    Radley- If you want to do conditional life expectancy comparisons between countries, you can get the necessary info from a ‘life table’. The 1999 U.S. life table I have from me old biostats class shows that an individual entering age 35 (in 1999) had a life expectancy of 43.5 years, which gives an expected age of death of 78.5 years old. For comparison, a newborn’s life expectancy was 76.7 years in 1999.

  10. #10 |  seeker6079 | 

    Mattocracy: This is where we get into degree/kind, no? Look at how the two difeerent situations were covered.

    War protests: Hundreds of thousands in American streets, millions in the streets of American allies. Message: some people oppose the war, now let’s cut to hours of programming on why the war is necessary / inevitable, and few if any interviews with senior people like Feingold who oppose the war.

    Health care: hundreds of protesters who get constant coverage, whose views are repeated ad infinitum, whose views are also advanced by constant appearances by senior GOP officials, and whose positions are taken seriously and debated at length.

    Think about that. Going to war that will kill countless thousands of people? Opposition coverage slight. Going to expand government programs to provide some additional health coverage that is laughably pissant by the standards of the rest of the western industrialized world? Opposition coverage constant.

    And you still wanna sell me on the notion that the media is either neutral or merely incompetent? Incompetent, I grant you? But neutral? No. For the most part they, like any other private business, advance the views of their owners: vast corporations.

  11. #11 |  KBCraig | 

    Regarding whether or not it’s “appropriate” to open carry at a health care debate:

    Since when are protestors limited to the announced topic? Were anti-war protestors chastised for showing up when Bush was speaking about things other than the war?

    If issue X is important to you, and you want to raise public awareness, then you should appear at high-profile events, not just gatherings of fellow “issue X” sympathizers.

  12. #12 |  Bee | 

    #57 seeker

    As an anarchist, boy, do I hear you on the damned difficulty of getting the message out!

  13. #13 |  K. Wilson | 

    seeker6079 said: “Get real, Fluffy. The anti-war protests early in the Iraq war drew often drew hundreds of thousands of people, and were scantily covered. Often, when they were covered it was to point the camera at the tiny minority of batshit anarkiddies. The narrative isn’t, as you wishfully thinking state, “A well-meaning protest got out of hand because of troublemakers”, it was and is “people oppose free trade / the WTO… and it’s these masked property-smashers”. Oddly enough the tens of thousands of well-dressed, well-behaved protesters behind them just never seem to get mentioned.”

    Scantily covered??? ARGHHHH!!!!! Are you kidding me? The protests were covered all the time and for the most part not negatively at all. “Anti-war sentiment is growing in this country as people question the legality of the war” was the headline every other night! (And for the record I questioned the war greatly and think for the most part it was a huge waste of tax payer money.)

    And it wasn’t limited to anti-war protests. Remember the pro-immigration marches? I was IN Chicago for a writing conference during the big one there. Huge crowds in the street. Very positive press for the most part ALL OVER THe NEWS. And the “peaceful” nature of the protests was praised again and again in the media.

  14. #14 |  flukebucket | 

    If your reason for carrying openly is to provoke and intimidate I question whether or not you are mature enough to carry at all.

    I already understand that open carry has nothing to do with maturity. It is a right in Arizona.

    But I expect there are still certain neighborhoods where it is not smiled upon.

  15. #15 |  K. Wilson | 

    I said in my last post that I am a conservative who greatly questioned the war and feel it’s a waste of tax money–and I do, but I wanted to add that the waste of life concerns me more. I meant to add it in the first place. :)

    K…

  16. #16 |  Fluffy | 

    A couple of points to keep in mind:

    The “These protestors are engaging in thuggish intimidation” claims predate the open carry incidents. This line of argument was advanced by the media as soon as the town hall protests started.

    If you think that the town hall protestors have received outsized attention, given their numbers, relative to the antiwar protests, I agree with you. But you have no one to blame but progressive bedwetters and their media allies. In order to spread the “thuggish intimidation” meme, you have to draw attention to the protests themselves. It’s unavoidable.

    It was the KOSites who started the “ZOMG the brownshirts are back!” complaining in response to a relative handful of people who showed up at town halls and rudely shouted. It was the KOSites who organized on the web and said, “Everybody call their local news outlet to make them aware of all this thuggish intimidation!” So if you have any problem with the media attention lavished on these guys, take it up with the people who made them a media sensation.

  17. #17 |  James D | 

    For the ‘AZ gun guy’ …. basically we in AZ are proud of our open-carry laws, but the group he is a part of says stuff like “we are brandishing our guns to show that we are ‘ready'” …. overall it makes 2nd Amendment supporters look bad :( Here is the video they themselves taped during the event:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63GiXzpfGhA

    I just think it’s one more thing the liberal media can point to and say “look, anyone who doesn’t agree with us is a bunch of right-wing, extremist nutjob!”.

    I just wish I could find the local radio station’s interview with the group leader (I think they call themselves the local libertarian party in Phoenix actually?) but they don’t seem to have it posted anywhere.

  18. #18 |  J sub D | 

    When I hear one of those pests on my street (usually every day in the summer), I start wondering where on the web I could find instructions for an IED.

    Here ya go.

  19. #19 |  Aresen | 

    Thanks, J sub D

    Should have known I could count on you.

    ;)

  20. #20 |  J sub D | 

    Aresen,

    I used to have the print version in the ’70s. I was an active duty 2nd class petty officer working on weapons systems at the time. Doesn’t that make you feel comfortable?

    Truth be told, I was more interested in the LSD recipes than in undermining the United States government.

  21. #21 |  Matt D | 

    Re. NBC:

    Yes, the man in that particular clip is black. Most of the people toting guns to these rallies have been white. IIRC, there was also a white man with a similar weapon at that very same rally.

  22. #22 |  notjenna | 

    I guess it’s good that CBS is doing a civil liberties blog but choosing Declan McCullagh to do it does not give me confidence. Why? His flogging of the story of GW denier Alan Carlin’s report, an easily debunked story, gives me pause.

    McCullagh’s flogging of the GW denier talking point makes whatever else he says suspect.

  23. #23 |  Drunkenatheist | 

    Seeker,

    Marcotte worked for the Edwards campaign. Stop claiming she’s actually left-wing or anything but a sorta-left of center Democrat.

    Also, quit acting as if Pandagon is some sort of bastion of radical thought. I’m a radical feminist who can’t stand most of what occurs on Pandagon because it’s often a bunch of commenters who are an eensy bit left of Hillary Clinton who think that sitting around and posting self-congratulatory comments is more important than actual feminist discourse. I occasionally pop onto the site, but more often than not, it is thinly veiled shilling for the Democratic party. The “It’s a Jungle Out There” bullshit killed most of the urge I have had to visit the site and has reduced my visits to minimal, at best.

    I am so sick to death of the idea that the big feminist sites are so omg! radical! and omg! progressive! Christ.

  24. #24 |  Windy | 

    The media is neither right nor left, it is authoritarian, it will report on those activities which will cause the sheep to cry out for more regulations, more laws, and it will report them in such as way as to make those sheep as frightened as possible.

  25. #25 |  seeker6079 | 

    Gasp! Amanda Marcotte worked for Edwards? I never knew that!

    And I’ve watched Marcotte get a new ass torn for her frequently on her own site for that decision and for the way that that turned out, and for how Edwards handled it. (Myself, included, btw, but since you only “occasionally pop onto the site” you obviously know it faaaaaaaaaar better than I do.)

    I think that you’re making the mistake that Pandagon is a blog which inevitably reflects the views of Marcotte. It doesn’t; the commenters frequently disagree — and yes, frequently agree — with her. There’s a far wider range of discourse there than red state, which is exclusively GOP uber-righters, or Kos, which is Dem party driven, or even here, which has a niche libertarian populace. All those sites are great at what they do, but they simply don’t start with or end up with the diversity of debate that one sees at Pandagon and I do think that Taylor, Marcotte and Spaulding should get credit for that. (Oh yeah, kinda missed that there were two other people regularly blogging there, eh?)

    Look, if you want a wholly radfem blog, go to Shakesville where that philosophical view is unchallenged. Don’t piss on Padagon for (gasp!) advocating views that aren’t sufficiently pure for you.

    And just for the record, if you’d troubled your lazy ass to actually to use google you’d find that I post there linking back here with some frequency: six times by the most basic search. There’s a huge overlap on civil liberties between progressives and libertarians and it drives me nuts that neither side sees it much.

  26. #26 |  Jim Collins | 

    “When I hear one of those pests on my street (usually every day in the summer), I start wondering where on the web I could find instructions for an IED.”

    http://www.libertyreferences.com/improvised-munitions-handbook/improvised-munitions-handbook.shtml

    This should do it for you.

  27. #27 |  annemg | 

    I’m getting really f-in tired of parents who want to ban stuff so they don’t have to parent. Dear Ice Cream Truck Mom, The word is “No.” Its not hard, try it some time. Grrr.

  28. #28 |  old | 

    MSNBC shows tight shot of Town Hall protester packing heat, suggests racism against Obama might why people are carrying guns to these events. Problem is, they needed the tight shot, because the guy with the gun was black.

    Wrong to do that. MSNBC should have just shown pictures of the actual racist signs and the town hall.

    Wasn’t it Reagan that didn’t want guns carried? Ah yes the Mumford bill, maybe. My California history is rusty. Nothing like seeing Glenn Beck begging on air to his audience that we don’t need another Timothy McVeigh. What a dilettante! It must be interesting steering weak willed people into whatever sort of action you want of them. But then, you have to come back from that brink, and implore your audience not to blow up any FBI buildings.