Morning Links

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
  • This story raises an interesting question: Is there anything inherently wrong with collecting Nazi memorabilia? Would you think differently of someone if you were made aware they were a collector?
  • This looks like a great read: New book probes the mind of a dog.
  • Off-the-menu times at fast food spots.
  • Handy list of top 50 blogs dealing with forensics issues. Yes, this blog was kindly mentioned.
  • Canada’s drug czar slams drug war upon leaving office.
  • One drug arrest every 18 seconds in America last year. About half were for marijuana. And 90 percent of those were for possession, not sale or cultivation.
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  • 55 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  USAA_SUCKS | 

      Where are these people going with their pot? Where are they smoking? I keep mine strictly at home, only smoke at home. Rarely, very rarely, would you have catch me in possession anywhere outside my own home.

    2. #2 |  Reggie Hubbard | 

      re: Nazi Memorabilia

      Context is everything. If a random nobody has a collection of Nazi memorabilia, I can disregard it, if a senior member of an international organization that frequently criticizes Israel is an avid collector, then there is a problem. It’s not that I believe Garlasco is an anti-Semite, just that he is in a public enough position where the plausibility that he might be, given his collection, is enough of a taint on any claims Human Rights Watch makes against Israel.

    3. #3 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

      I collect Pre-WWII Soviet and Russian items, especially weapons. Does that make me a Communist sympathizer? Or am I a Czarist apologist? How can I be both? Or am I just a loony gun nut? My neighbor has many Japanese relics from WWII. Should I report him so that the government can relocate him, as he is obviously a spy for the Imperial Japanese?

      Jeezus H. Freaking Christ-a-roni

    4. #4 |  Michael Pack | 

      USAA,When you pat people down on the streets and have ‘undercover’ cops selling,it’s not hard to find people to lock up.Now traffic stops are excuses to look for drugs or drinking over the smallest mistake while driving.The 4th and 5th amendment are being erased from the law.

    5. #5 |  H4 | 

      The problem with Garlasco’s Nazi “hobby” is that he’s HRW Middle East analyst. Not sure Israelis are going to get a fare shake when the person in charge of monitoring the region for human rights abuses is an avid Nazi war memorabilia collector. Even if he never espoused anti-semitic views in public, it’s pretty safe to assume that the people he frequents in those circles have. What would African-Americans think of a person in charge of monitoring civil rights violations who is an avid collector of Confederate memorabilia?

    6. #6 |  jb | 

      As #2 said. Although David Bernstein at Volokh is often excessively-willing to condemn anti-Israel and anti-Semitic public figures (and to conflate the two), he has written a very good series of posts laying out legitimate and devastating criticisms of Human Rights Watch for both. This nazi memorabilia is the symbolism-rich, content- and meaning-less tip of the iceberg there.

    7. #7 |  de stijl | 

      Handy list of top 50 blogs dealing with forensics issues. Yes, this blog was kindly mentioned.

      Yeah, dude, but you’re #38.

      Kind of like the US in world longevity stats ;-)

      Forensic Crime Scene totally kicked your ass!

    8. #8 |  Boston | 

      Good on ya for the mention, also good to get The Agitator name out. But that site also lists

      Forensic Astrology: Stick forensic science and astrology together and you have a blog on unsolved crimes and missing persons cases.

      Um, What?

    9. #9 |  MikeZ | 

      I can’t see how a collection has any real bearing. Heck if I were to guess I would suspect there are more copies of Mein Kampf in Jewish Households than there are in Neo-Nazi households (at least in the US) Hopefully the US has a lot more Jews than there are neo-nazis and reading up on nazi history seems like something you might want todo simply because they commited such atrocities.

      Heck there are 108 current ebay auctions for Charles Manson items. I don’t think Serial Killers/Cult Leaders are the intended market for those.

    10. #10 |  TomMil | 

      I have mixed thoughts about the Nazi memorabilia thing:

      Would it effect how I would think about a person? Depends, it seems sort of wierd to me. It’s not like he collects WWII memorabilia, it’s exclusively Nazi. Maybe he shouldn’t be involved with Isreal’s Human Rights abuses, his agency deals with such causes all around the world.

      But the Isreali’s problem is with any critic of their cold blooded tactics, that he collects Nazi memorabilia is merely a pretext.

      Netanyahu from the memorabilia link, “…we are not going to be sitting ducks in a pond for the human rights groups to shoot at us with impunity.”

      So let’s see if I got this right;
      1. Bombing children in schools and hospitals in Gaza – O.K.
      2. Collecting swastika armbands – beyond the pale.

      It seems Garlasco collects Nazi clothing and the Likud collects their respect for life.

    11. #11 |  gospazha | 

      Funny how all these drug warriors never manage to slam the drug war while they’re STILL IN OFFICE. It’s a little difficult for me to give them kudos for failing to express their views until they’ve given up their ability to effect meaningful change.

    12. #12 |  Marc | 

      The only Nazi memorabilia collector I know was a sick bastard. His own mother’s entire family was killed during the Nazi bombing of London, and this guy had a shrine to them in her house. I don’t think it is wrong, but I would definitely look at the person differently.

    13. #13 |  Pablo | 

      #1 and #4–that’s correct, most of these arrests stem from either “stop-and-frisks” on the street–usually in poor minority areas since rich white folks would never tolerate that–or “bonus” drug arrests (e.g., cops are in your home for some legitimate reason, like a 911 call you make, or they pull you over for a traffic charge and then start sniffing around or have their mutts do it). As an attorney my experience is that many of these searches are illegal and without consent, while others are supported by probable cause and do not require consent. Can’t really say which is more common. With the erosion of the 4th and 5th amendments it really doesn’t take much to establish probable cause, no consent necessary. For example, in Georgia, the smell of pot, by itself, establishes probable cause for a vehicle search.

    14. #14 |  Todd Fjellman | 

      I have several WWII German items that my grandfather collected from France, Belgium, and finally Germany. I have a Soldier’s helmet, an SS leather belt, several Swastica flags, and other misc. items, but I am afraid to have them preserved due to the fact people may think I am sort of white-supremacist or neo-nazi. I am proud of my grandfather, and what he collected while defeating Germany, but cannot fully display his souveniers. He lost dozens of close comrades, and had nightmares that the Germans were going to get him up to his death almost fifty years after the war.

    15. #15 |  Hannah | 

      re: Nazi Memorabilia

      What the man dose in his free time, is just that his free time. I personally know two people that are avid collectors of WWII memorabilia, both specialize in Germany. Their view is that someone needs to keep this stuff around so that there is tangible proof of the Nazi existence. One of them at least also enjoys the hunt of looking for rare memorabilia because its so hard to find, and when you do find it for it to be affordable. Personally just looking at Germanys military outfits I think, they were the best dressed group of the day out there. A SS uniform does actually look pretty cool. I don’t condone a large part of what the Nazi group did, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they had some pretty neat looking uniforms and medals. So long as the man isn’t going around espousing the rhetoric, why should it matter what he collects?

    16. #16 |  pegr | 

      A friend of mine has an SS pistol his father removed from a Nazi prisoner he captured. Doesn’t make him a Nazi sympathizer in the least.

      Unrelated: They didn’t keep SS prisoners very long. They shot him in the head with a Colt .45.

    17. #17 |  OB | 

      Puppycide story from the blog of a local newspaper reporter who must not read this blog: “Last week, Flossmoor police shot a pit bull terrier who had attacked a community service officer and was about to attack another one. Ever notice you never read about a beagle or a cocker spaniel involved in similar incidents?”

      http://blogs.southtownstar.com/homewood/2009/09/flossmoor_police_shoot_pit_bul.html#more

    18. #18 |  JJH2 | 

      In a couple of hundred years, there will be no more stigma attached to collecting Nazi memorabilia than there is to displays of artifacts of the Spanish Inquisition, or the collection of trinkets from the French Terror. There is no stigma attached to collecting artifacts of older, equally brutal militaristic societies like Ancient Rome, or corrupt regimes like the ancient Chinese dynasties. It’s always going to be “too soon!” for some people, especially those with historical axes to grind as a means for justifying current human rights abuses, but we shouldn’t forget that the very first collectors of Nazi memorabilia were the European, American, and Russian soldiers that defeated the Nazi regime in the first place.

    19. #19 |  de stijl | 

      Is there anything inherently wrong with collecting Nazi memorabilia? Would you think differently of someone if you were made aware they were a collector?

      While not a collector, I picked up a bunch of stuff from Sovietski.com back when their raison d’etre was to offload quasi-mil Soviet shit In the early-mid 90s. The Spetznaz hatchet thingie (I’m sure it has a real name) is super handy for camping, and I have a lot of other shit strewn about my house decoratively (no banners or Lenin busts or stuff like that – just altimeters, clocks, etc.) I got a lot of nice and useful optics and gear from Sovietski.com back then.

      I may be slightly left of the majority of The Agitator readers – I agree with Friedrich Hayek’s argument for the case of a state’s helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance to ameliorate against the case of sickness and accident. The Road To Serfdom (Chapter 9).

      But I sure ain’t a commie.

      Germany has (or had) a federal law prohibiting possession of certain Nazi memorabilia. I don’t agree with the total ban on what should be considered as neutral gear, but I also understand that the country wants to quash Nazi fetishism (and Nazism, obvs).

      In the case of Garlasco’s hobby, I’ll echo above posters about context. HRW obviously doesn’t want a Middle East analyst with an unhealthy Nazi fixation.

      Is Garlasco’s hobby unhealthy or not? Only he can answer that.

      But if he has shriney type set-up for his Nazi stuff or a large collection of Prussian Blue, certain Oi! bands, or the darker recesses of Nordic Black Metal in his music collection, that changes the equation.

      “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!”

      This is a chilling statement, but I have no idea what else he said in the same posting that may give it a different shading or not.

      We don’t have access to Garlaco’s brain or residence, but HRW has the right to disassociate from him (as he has the right to object and respond by various means).

      But than again, I have all this Soviet gear in my house.

      You’re right Radley. Interesting question!

    20. #20 |  PJ Doland | 

      The forum posts are what tips it for me:

      “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!”

    21. #21 |  Ben | 

      Rarely, very rarely, would you have catch me in possession anywhere outside my own home.

      And even if you do take it with you, simply don’t carry it on your person. Then if the officer asks to search you, you can say yes (because it’s a question of officer safety). If they ask to search your vehicle, you can say no because they’ve already shown that you are not carrying a weapon and they have no reason to search your car unless they can prove probable cause and get a warrent.

      At least that’s how I understand it.

    22. #22 |  Sean | 

      gospazha:

      “Funny how all these drug warriors never manage to slam the drug war while they’re STILL IN OFFICE.”

      Unfortunately, here in the states, it’s actually mandated that they CANNOT speak out against their own failed policies. (That point has been highlighted on this blog, I believe.) I don’t know what the rules are in Canada, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were similar.

    23. #23 |  Steven DallaVicenza | 

      It’s not Canada’s drug czar, it’s Vancouver’s drug czar. I honestly don’t know if Canada has a national drug czar, and I hope it doesn’t. Drug policy is a major reason why i don’t support the Conservative Party of Canada as a party in power.

    24. #24 |  Lucy | 

      While it is possible to go overboard and creepy with your interest in Nazi-related things (and that quote about how cool some SS item was makes him sound like a 13 year old boy), it’s also fairly understandable to be interested. I’m a history nerd with plenty of morbid interest in the darkest points of history. I also own a “Buy War Bonds -1917″ button, a “Nixon-Lodge” button, and a couple of 80s Soviet pins. And WWI, Nixon, and the USSR were all bad — particularly the first and third items, which were obviously bloody disasters.

      In my case, I like to hold the item and try to picture the world it’s from. And I am highly jealous of my mom’s friend who owns a Nazi ration book, because it’s got swastikas on it — state sanctioned swastikas, and somehow that makes the fact that all of that insanity happened so much more real.

      However, the obsession and collecting of JUST Nazi memorabilia always struck me as a little tasteless, at the very least.

    25. #25 |  Lucy | 

      Hannah (#15), I never got the German uniform appeal thing. If anyone looked cool, it was the RAF pilots.

    26. #26 |  Brian | 

      Re: Drug arrests

      I’m currently spending a few weekends in jail for a traffic offense, and it’s really sad just how many of the other people in here are doing time for getting high. Drug laws and DUI laws put at least 3/4 of these guys in here, and even the DUI charges are petty things that seem to serve more to keep the jails full and the courts in full-swing than to make anyone safer.

      Here are some example of how these guys were arrested:

      1. Guy gets too drunk to go home. As he describes it, he was almost too drunk to even reach his car. So he gets in the car to sleep it off until the morning. Because he’s in the car with keys, he gets charged with drunk driving, despite the fact that he was specifically avoiding doing so.

      2. Guys go camping/fishing for the weekend. Game warden shows up. He asks to look in their tackle box after seeing their fishing licenses. He finds the joints that they had planned to smoke after cooking their fish, so they’re in jail. Thank god those guys are no longer a threat to the world.

      I deserve the few days of jail that I’m serving, because driving too fast actually made me a threat to people around me. But most of the guys in here for drugs or DUI really don’t belong in here at all.

    27. #27 |  Alan Gura | 

      The NY Times article does a very poor job of describing the problems with HRW and their Nazi-obsessed military “expert.”

      David Bernstein at Volokh has detailed a lot of the problems with HRW, and with various of their so-called “experts” and reports. Garlasco’s Nazi habit is indeed the very tip of a huge iceberg.

      And yes, having a fetish for Nazi regalia that is so extreme to the point that the man wrote a huge tome on the subject, while at the same time writing bullshit about Israel, well… you can draw your own conclusions.

    28. #28 |  de stijl | 

      #15 Hannah

      Personally just looking at Germanys military outfits I think, they were the best dressed group of the day out there. A SS uniform does actually look pretty cool.

      David Bowie got so much shit for saying the same thing.

      But then again George Lucas based all the Stormtroopers (dig the name!) Galactic Republic / Empire iconography on the Nazis.

    29. #29 |  de stijl | 

      Sorry for the blockquote fuck-up. I blame Mr. Balko for the lack of a preview button.

      Personally just looking at Germanys military outfits I think, they were the best dressed group of the day out there. A SS uniform does actually look pretty cool.

      David Bowie got so much shit for saying the same thing.

      But then again George Lucas based all the Stormtroopers (dig the name!) Galactic Republic / Empire iconography on the Nazis.

    30. #30 |  Hannah | 

      #25 Lucy
      It’s the crisp clean cut lines in the uniforms. The embellishments with even the privates, never mind the officers. Part of this probably stems from the fact I’ve got Icelandic relatives. Anything with runes is deemed cool. From a seamstresses ideal, they’re just better put together. Mind I don’t like the look of putting skulls all over some of them – like some of the hats, but take that out and in my mind it’s a pretty snazzy looking uniform, epically for the time. We just didn’t have that look here in the U.S. and the Russians were to dirt poor to afford to do it.

    31. #31 |  Chris in AL | 

      It is never ok to try and bury or hide history and it is never ok to project on to someone else their motive for wanting to collect anything. Everyone knows what the Nazis did. But how is collecting any of the historical stuff proof of sympathizing with their ideals?

      Why would it be more acceptable to write a book about the nazis? or make a movie about the nazis? How can nazis hold any interest for anyone considering they did bad stuff? Look at all of the nazi imagery used in a movie like Valkyrie. Eddie Izzard actually wore one of their uniforms and got paid for it! That has to be as bad as having one of their armbands in a desk drawer.

      When are we going to grow up? The nazis were real, a part of history and one of the largest single driving forces behind the very lifestyle we live today. From our politics to our technology to the borders of countries on multiple continents. Wanting to own some of that history is not equal to rooting for their success.

      How far back do we take that crap anyway? I never hear any bitching about Stalin memorabilia. What if you have a collection Pol Pot propaganda? The Huns were pretty nasty too. What if you own some archeological piece that was from the Vikings? Those guys were assholes you know! And we put their stuff in our museums!!!! We must all like raping and pillaging!

      This particular guy may love everything the nazis stood for. I don’t know. But ‘owning’ stuff can’t by itself be condemning evidence of that. Some ‘words’ or ‘actions’ should be required. Mankind is still so childish.

    32. #32 |  perlhaqr | 

      That’s because the Nazis had goddamn Hugo Boss designing their uniforms.

      Lousy motherfuckers ruined the only good men’s fashion to come out of the 20th century. Yes, it’s a minor crime compared to their others, but it’s still there.!

    33. #33 |  Saint Zero | 

      I think one problem with collecting Nazi memorabilia and being a member of any Human Right Organization is while you may have a right to whatever you’d like to collect, it will certainly give your critics fair amounts of ammo to question your integrity. In his case, it should boil down to whether he wants to be an effective worker for Human Rights or a burden to the work.

    34. #34 |  tariqata | 

      @11: You should keep in mind that MacPherson was a driving force behind a municipal strategy that included harm reduction, prevention, and treatment for drug use (up to and including a safe injection site that’s been quite controversial) as well as enforcement, and that according to the article, he’s planning to work for changes to Canada’s drug policy at the provincial or federal level. I’d read this more as a person who has come to realize that a) the laws are ineffective and b) that he can’t effect the changes he knows are needed at the municipal level, rather than as an ex-drug-warrior speaking his mind now that he’s safely out of the fray.

    35. #35 |  fwb | 

      And every drug arrest was under laws that are not constituional. If the constitution had to be amended to allow the govt the power of prohibition of alcohol, where is the amendment to allow the govt the power to prohibit drugs?

      Ain’t never been passed. And all those people have been screwed by their govt.

      Tiocfaidh ar la!

    36. #36 |  de stijl | 

      Eddie Izzard actually wore one of their uniforms and got paid for it!

      Yeah, but Eddie Izzard is pretty much a god amongst men. He does a monster James Mason impression, he’s an executive transvestite, and he appreciates the proper usage of flags.

    37. #37 |  Anne | 

      #2, #5, and #32,

      I don’t understand how you can bootstrap something you don’t have a problem with into something that creates an appearance of impropriety. Giving one’s critics an opening to say “He did something that is bascially fine” does not constitute handing them ammunition.

    38. #38 |  Tim C | 

      “10. This one might be my favorite. At Fatburger, you can order a Hypocrite – a veggie burger topped with crispy strips of bacon.”

      I so love Fatburger!

    39. #39 |  DaveG | 

      So much hate out there for the Nazi’s, sure the guys were bastards, but Churchill and Roosevelt were even more poised for world domination.
      From reading these posts, sounds like Anglo-American propaganda worked better than Hitler’s ever did.
      Liked this one by Pat Buchanan http://buchanan.org/blog/did-hitler-want-war-2068

    40. #40 |  Bob | 

      It took me a while to figure out what that … tubular thing in the picture was.

      It’s a “100 x 100″ from In and Out. 100 patties and 100 slices of cheese.

      Certainly, no single human could eat that… but it would be great for a party.

    41. #41 |  James D | 

      For the ‘secret food’ stuff, I just ordered a Pizza Sub off of Subway’s menu last week … so I didn’t know that was considered ‘secret’.

    42. #42 |  Hannah | 

      #30 | Chris in AL
      What if you own some archeological piece that was from the Vikings? Those guys were assholes you know! And we put their stuff in our museums!!!! We must all like raping and pillaging!

      As I mentioned earlyer about my Icelandic relitives. Remember always pillage before you burn. Dame Christians taking over ;p Ruining the fun for the rest of us. ;p

      (please apologize spelling, I did not s.c. this post)

    43. #43 |  MikeZ | 

      #19 de stigl said “This is a chilling statement, but I have no idea what else he said in the same posting that may give it a different shading or not.”

      in response to the quoted statement “That is so cool! The leather SS jacket makes my blood go cold it is so COOL!”

      I took Garlasco’s use of the phrase “blood go cold” as exactly the same as you use “chilling”. Its humerous that you both use similar phrases here. In that light to me the statement may well be a perfectly innocent by itself. His blood went cold because he was in the presense of pure evil, and because of the power of this artifact it made it particularly cool/awesome to collect.

    44. #44 |  auggie | 

      The coolest thing I own is a Hitler youth boot knife. I’m in no way anti semite but it’s got a skull on it and just looks so cool and makes a great conversation peice. The nazis were obviosly big into imagery. reminds me of the scene in American Beauty when the kid shows his girl the nazi china.

    45. #45 |  Frank | 

      I guess I shouldn’t tell this guy about the unit I met at Military Through The Ages. It was a reenactment SS company from WW2. All Jews.

      His brain would explode.

    46. #46 |  Steve Verdon | 

      Excellent, In-n-Out made number 1. Great burgers and fries. Good shakes too. Which is about 90% of their menu. :)

    47. #47 |  oortmist | 

      I work at a McDonalds franchise in KY, where you can get any sandwich you want dressed like a Big Mac. I don’t know if they do this at every McDonalds restaurant though.

    48. #48 |  Alan Gura | 

      why of course, a real Israel-hating Nazi would never write a 400 page book about the Nazi regalia he collects. Real Nazis collect… beanie babies? beer cans? hubcaps?

      WTF do you people think real Nazis are into? How about, Nazi militaria? You could give the guy a pass for being just creepy but his work product is not exactly above reproach, either.

      geeez, if it looks, walks, and quacks… you know.

      and his co-workers aren’t a whole lot different. how about HRW’s Joe Stork, who lauded the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 72 Olympics because it “provided an important boost in morale among Palestinians.”

      or HRW’s solicitation of funds in Saudi Arabia (!!!) for the express purpose of bashing Israel?

      Innocent hobby my ass. The context here is damning.

    49. #49 |  Joel | 

      “Is there anything inherently wrong with collecting Nazi memorabilia? Would you think differently of someone if you were made aware they were a collector? ”

      I’d think differently of someone if I was made aware they collected Nazi memorabilia because of a sympathy toward Nazis. But I’ve never met anyone like that. Gun and gear guys collect guns and gear. It’s just…sort of what we do. I’ve known some who collected Nazi guns’n’gear because, let’s face it, the Nazis had cool guns’n’gear. Doesn’t make those guys Nazis. In fact, technically, under those circumstances I’m not sure you can accurately call it “memorabilia.” It’s just historic gear.

      So to the first question, no. To the second, it depends on why they collect it.

    50. #50 |  JJH2 | 

      #48

      For what it’s worth, I just spent the last 15 minutes trying to find the original editorial in which Joe Stork allegedly made the comments attributed to him in your post, and which were originally reported by the Israeli newspaper Ma’Ariv. I can’t find it anywhere. All of the references online repeat, essentially verbatim, the allegations of Ma’Ariv, which did not bother with a specific cite.

      Ironically, The Volokh Conspiracy’s David Bernstein, whom you first referenced in this thread above as a critic of Human Rights Watch, actually wrote to exculpate Stork from this very accusation: http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2009_08_16-2009_08_22.shtml#1250601131

    51. #51 |  Alan Gura | 

      There is no question of the quote’s accuracy or of Stork’s sympathies. More to the point, HRW is a cesspool full of wacky characters, and a fake military “expert” who issues ridiculous screeds against Israel while obsessively collecting and writing volumes about his favorite Nazi regalia is, in context, not all that surprising or mysterious.

    52. #52 |  JJH2 | 

      #51

      Er, well, there is a significant question about the quote’s accuracy. First, you attributed it to Stork despite there being no credible evidence that he actually penned it. Second, you claim the quote “lauded” the murder of the Israeli athletes. However, the original article is apparently not available online to be double checked. And David Bernstein, a regular HRW critic, who claims to have reviewed the original article, describes the overall thrust of the article quite differently, and contends that the original author(s) in fact stated there was no justification for the murders.

    53. #53 |  Jon | 

      I think he’ll have a hard time arguing against bias when he uses “Flak88″ as a pseudonym on collector sites.

      88 is a well known neo-nazi code for “Heil Hitler”.

      http://www.adl.org/hate_symbols/numbers_88.asp

    54. #54 |  JJH2 | 

      #53

      Garlasco’s handle has already been the subject of some discussion on interested sites. History buffs seem to think it’s a transparent reference to the Flak 88mm anti-aircraft gun. If you google “Flak88,” the first link is in fact to the wikipedia page for the Flak 88mm anti-aircraft gun.

    55. #55 |  Reason Magazine’s Radley Balko Testifies On Online Gaming | freearticlesdbonline.com | 

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