Morning Links

Thursday, October 29th, 2009
  • Is anyone remotely surprised by this?
  • Or, for that matter, this?
  • Police enter home unannounced after receiving reports of a neighborhood prowler, shoot and kill family dog. No prowler.
  • Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley, a frontrunner for Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat, was the AG who argued before the U.S. Supreme Court that forensic experts shouldn’t necessarily be subject to cross examination. Apparently, she didn’t do so well. Coakley has also been aggressive in the crackdown on prescription pain medication and has defended the controversial “recovered memory” sex abuse scandals from the 1980s and 90s.
  • British towns requiring parents to pass a criminal background check before being allowed to supervise their own children on public playgrounds.
  • Why I like Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).
  • Read the bills? Why not just read the Constitution?
  • Pretty cool way of illustrating the tininess of atoms.

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  • 33 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Aresen | 

      No, I’m not in the slightest surprised that, having bailed out GM, the politicians want a payoff.

      Countdown to next GM chapter 11 filing: 2 years 10 months.

    2. #2 |  ClassAction | 

      I don’t like Martha Coakley. I hope she loses her senatorial bid. I think she took the wrong position on what she argued before the Supreme Court. I think she has a lamentable history of shaping the legal priorities of the MA AG’s office. That said, very few people end up sounding like geniuses when arguing before the Supreme Court. The body of constitutional law that has developed over the years is convoluted, contradictory, and riddled with deference to policy arguments that could go both ways. It’s not hard to poke holes in any argument presented, and the Justices have some of the sharpest young legal minds in the country whose job it is to do just that. When you’re on your feet arguing for an hour or so, it’s easy to slip up and make basic misstatements. Judging by the article, her performance is pretty par for the course, and it’s not like oral arguments usually settle any of the cases – the Justices usually know what they are going to do long before the cases are argued before them.

    3. #3 |  Bob | 

      What was the probable cause to enter the house (and shoot the dog)? Simply having a ‘prowler’ in the area in insufficient. There had to be reasonable belief that a crime was being committed at the moment.

    4. #4 |  Ben | 

      Yo,, I’m really happy for you and I’ma let you finish, but Nikon made the best flash animation of the scale of things of all time! Of all time!

    5. #5 |  Bob | 

      From the PG County link:

      “Jackson says he wonders if the situation is due to a personal vendetta and whether the investigation turned up a crime or sloppy bookkeeping. He says if it turns out to be a crime, he will take action.”

      And by ‘action’ of course, he means protect the officer from prosecution.

    6. #6 |  Bot | 

      If you keep zooming in beyond 140 pico meters so you will see the residual quantity of the original Constitution left in our federal bureaucracy. Somewhere in the femto meter range, I think.

    7. #7 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I can’t believe union funds would be lost. People are generally so careful when they have responsibility for handling other people’s hard earned cash. *giggle*

    8. #8 |  Aresen | 

      The Police Union funds are missing?

      Is there no honor among t*****s?

    9. #9 |  J sub D | 

      Is anyone remotely surprised by this?

      Not here.

      Or, for that matter, this?

      I live in the city where Hoffa disappeared. This is surpising only by its pettiness. That amount would only buy a Teamster guy one suit.

    10. #10 |  dave smith | 

      I’d really hate my elected officials to be burdened.

      Maybe they should think of the burdens on the rest of us to comply with their crap.

    11. #11 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I hate that recovered memory syndrome was exposed as being so unbelievable. Because of that no one believes us when we suddenly recall other things that happen to us. Like, you know, alien abductions and shit.

    12. #12 |  Nando | 

      The GM crap is just logical. Anyone who didn’t see this coming should really re-examine their world views expectations.

      Congress knew that GM needed to be restructured and shed some weight, so long as it didn’t adversely affects their constituents, fund-raising ability, or probability of being re-elected. It’s like the Congressional version of NIMBY

    13. #13 |  fwb | 

      Healy needs to understand the Constitution. I know he has read it but his comprehension leaves much to be desired. I say that to everyone elsee too. 99% of what the feds do is not allowed under the federal constitution. The proof is there in the Constitution but most folks try to take each clause independent of the others. That is a mistake.

      Tiocfaidh ar la!

    14. #14 |  Dave Krueger | 

      Let’s see. We’re thinking that Congress should actually have to read the bills they vote on which ultimately affect the lives of millions of people, often being responsible for imprisoning many of those people or sending them off to die in a war or sucking them dry of what little wealth they’re able to create for themselves?

      Not only should hey be forced to read the bills, they should be tested on them, their scores made public, and only get to vote if they get a passing grade.

      Mention the Constitution to one of them and deep down in the recesses of their minds, where it’s not visible on the surface, they are rolling their eyes and laughing at what a naive moron you are. It’s become such a joke they don’t even need to amend it anymore. They just need to change their interpretation to justify anything they want. In other words, 2+2=5 (or 6 or 7 or 8 or…)

    15. #15 |  Dave Krueger | 

      It’s true atoms are small, but if you use digital zoom, you can see them. They’re square.

    16. #16 |  Andrew S. | 

      Just got my copy of he new house health care bill (the nearly 2000 page HR 3962). It includes menu calorie labeling requirements for chain restaurants with at least 20 locations (Section 2572, page 1510)

    17. #17 |  Nando | 

      Andrew S.

      Nice catch. I never would’ve got that far.

    18. #18 |  Andrew S. | 


      I was doing a global search for one word: “voluntary” (because, with the government, what’s ever voluntary?”. Shows up a lot, which is where I found it there.

      Also “voluntary”: Title XXXIII, Section 3204, page 1575. Establishes a “voluntary” payroll deduction for a new type of insurance they’re entitling the “CLASS program”, which will help individuals who need long-term care to help them get by in the community. You’re automatically enrolled (Section 3204(a), page 1575) unless you opt out (Section 3204(b), page 1576). The opt-out section states “An individual described in Section (c) [which is anyone that pays payroll taxes] may elect to waive enrollment in the CLASS program ‘at any time in such form or manner as the Secretary shall prescribe”

    19. #19 |  scott | 

      Gross story, but interesting in a car crash kind of way. It appears that Tennessee is considering placing folks convicted of bestiality on the state’s Sexual Offenders Registry.

      Unused Tenn. bestiality law put to test in new cases

    20. #20 |  Andrew S. | 

      (to clarify, the labeling is required for restaurants with at least 20 locations under the same name, regardless of ownership structure. The word “voluntary” appeared in stating that smaller chains can elect “voluntarily” to do that)

    21. #21 |  Ben | 

      It’s true atoms are small, but if you use digital zoom, you can see them. They’re square.

      “How many “X” zoom is that lens?”

      “I haven’t got a clue what a 300 works out to. Sorry.”

    22. #22 |  World’s Strangest | An Interactive Illustration of the Size of Atoms | 

      […] via Radley Balko | Image: U.S. Department of […]

    23. #23 |  Steve Verdon | 

      “I have dogs myself. I know how these people feel, but I also know that somethings got to be done about what’s going on here. If they don’t come out ready to do something, It’s not going to happen,” said neighbor Joann Griffith.

      Can we shoot on of Joann Griffith’s dogs? I find this kind of mentality to be…well evil. It is what lets things get to the point they have gotten too. Something has to be done…I know lets shoot Joann.


    24. #24 |  Andrew S. | 

      That dog story is disturbing on more than one level. Besides the puppycide angle.. how, exactly, does a vague report that a “prowler” “may have been” in the area lead to a warrantless entry? Exigent circumstances require probable cause that there’s an imminent danger to life or limb. “There may be a prowler” there doesn’t seem to apply.

    25. #25 |  Marty | 

      To me, the registry for parents to take their kids to the playground is a natural progression of the sex offender lists and other databases. we’ll all be on ‘lists’. we’ll have to carry credentials that show we’re on the right ‘list’- it’ll be like walking around proving your innocence all the time and always being afraid of being placed on a bad list. I can think of a few undesirable lists:

      1. obese
      2. gun owner
      3. drinker
      4. health issues
      5. no degree
      6. religious (non)affiliation
      7. reckless hobbyist
      8. tv watching habits
      9. internet usage

      like titles on old motorcycles, if you don’t have the proper papers, things will be difficult. the govt devalues more useful people and property by creating these bureaucratic lists and requiring state sanctioned approval… at least the kids will be safe!

    26. #26 |  James D | 

      The problem with Flake though is that he lives up to his name sometimes .n Some in AZ are furious that he didn’t show up to vote against the Cap and Trade (Tax) bill …. was at some family picnic or some such BS.

    27. #27 |  Mario | 

      However, a Metro police department spokesperson said the dog was acting aggressively and was coming at one of the officers.

      Actually, by entering the home for no good reason, I think it’s the officers who were acting aggressively.

    28. #28 |  Andrew Williams | 

      IMO, the gold standard of perspective is still Charles and Ray Eames’ Powers of Ten (w/narration by Philip Morrison):

    29. #29 |  UCrawford | 

      I’ve hated Martha Coakley ever since she tried to railroad my cousin on first-degree murder charges to help her re-election campaign for Middlesex DA.

      Leave it to the state of Massachusetts to field a candidate to replace Ted Kennedy with one of the few politicians I despise even more than Ted Kennedy. It’s uncanny.

    30. #30 |  Richard Gober | 

      Radley, I am with you on prosecutors who are overzealous regarding the prescription drugs, but a lot of pain meds are really, really overprescribed. There are some huge problems with opiate based pain medicines in the upper Southeast and Midwest that are staggering. It is not propaganda. You can get a good look at it in the workers’ compensation systems of most states. Pain meds are killing those people and turning them into malingering losers. I am perplexed at how many doctors in this system prescribe these meds for people. The research is evolving that the co-morbid conditions caused by pain meds may be perpetuating many WC claimant’s problems in returning to work. It’s not really hard to see when you look at so many non-work comp injured people leading more productive lives than similarly injured WC claimants. Opiate based pain meds is definately a player in it. To deny that is sticking your head in the sand. They are terrible.

    31. #31 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      The bailout of GM will serve as huge comedy over the coming years. A business run by politics and politicians.

      Some of the results will be predictable, but I can’t wait for the little surprises that are sure to arrive.

      I agree with the Montana dude’s actions, but probably not his motivation. He SHOULD be in GM’s bidness…often.

    32. #32 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

      And everyone else involved is telling that UK council they’re misapplying the law, as well.

    33. #33 |  Marty | 


      ‘…but a lot of pain meds are really, really overprescribed.’

      please supply some links supporting your position, particularly regarding wc. I think, in general Americans are quick to look for pharmaceutical solutions to many issues that may not require drugs. I’m not sure this is anyone’s business except the person taking the drug. I understand there’s a downside to just about everything, but I believe there’s a shortage of opiate based pain medication in the world.