Morning Links

Monday, November 23rd, 2009
  • New York court rules on defamatory merits of the word douche.
  • Meanwhile, St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Ken Greenbaum makes a bid for putting his picture next to the definition of the word.
  • Good article on asset forfeiture cases in Alabama. Nice to see the issue getting covering coverage in smaller newspapers.
  • High-energy, low-intelligence dog? Wear her out with this trick.
  • Fascinating article in The Atlantic looking at the “prosperity gospel” and the housing bubble.

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  • 28 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      Greenbaum (Director of Social Media at a newspaper) asks “What’s the craziest thing you’ve eaten?”, gets a vulgar response, and is shocked enough to contact the person’s employer. I’d say he’s deserving of “douche” AND “clueless”.

      First time I’ve ever seen “douche” spelled right on the tubes. Sometimes it’s like the whole world was taught by Roger Clemens.

    2. #2 |  bob42 | 

      Tastes just like bacon!

    3. #3 |  Chance | 

      From the Atlantic article: “…money is “really important,” and besides, “we love the money in Jesus Christ’s name! Jesus loved money too!”

      I have no response to that.

    4. #4 |  OGRE | 

      I certainly wouldn’t put the economic tailspin we’re in at the hands of Christianity; the causes of this depression go waaay back. But I would consider the message that pastor is spreading to be a perversion (for lack of a better word) of Christ’s teachings. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven,” would be just one contrary example. Christ certainly was not happy with the money changers, either.

    5. #5 |  mark robbins | 

      And print media keep wondering why they cant figure out how to monetize the internet.

      How about, that’s an idiotically dumb thing to do to a paying customer, for starters. One less reader right there, I guarantee.

    6. #6 |  Dave Krueger | 

      What I find stunning about the cash seizure story is the fact that it never even crosses the minds of these cops (DEA and local agencies as well) that taking someone else’s property in the absence of a crime is wrong. It never occurs to them that, since merely carrying that amount of money is not a crime, they have no moral authority to take it. It never occurs to them that the reason people do carry that amount of money is simply because, since it’s legal, there is no legal reason for them not to carry it.

      Their policies don’t even stand up to the most basic common sense challenge. Even a six year old would see the injustice of what they’re doing.

      If the cops can’t see how corrupt their property seizures are, then how can they possibly grasp other moral concepts like not beating someone up, or not tasing children, or not shooting dogs, or not putting other drivers at risk with high speed chases for traffic violations, or not accepting bribes, or not entrapping someone by getting them to commit a crime they might otherwise not commit?

      Even criminals aren’t so morally bankrupt as to not see through this. The people we trust to enact and enforce the laws are the very people who are least capable of understanding even the most rudimentary concepts of justice. Without a conscience or the intellectual capacity to question a policy that amounts to nothing less than random theft, there is no limit to what these people are capable of.

    7. #7 |  Danny | 

      Special Agent Roberto Bryan Jr. of the New Orleans Division of the DEA said, “No legitimate businessman travels with $120,000 in cash through the airport.”

      So he can say that with no burden of proof, but it’s up to the accused to prove the source of all of that money. I never understand this, anyway, because it’s not like every dollar bill is traced and registered every time it changes hands. If I could prove I made $120,000 this year, would it prove that it was THAT $120,000 that I was carrying?

      Maybe somebody could clear up what they mean by “proof”, because all I could see implemented practically is “legal possibility”.

    8. #8 |  pegr | 


      It’s all mythology. So you’re not happy that his mythology isn’t consistent with yours? If your fiction of an invisible man in the sky works for you, let him have his. It’s not like any of this has any basis in reason.

    9. #9 |  pegr | 

      Dave Krueger:

      They have no basis of justice because that would prevent them from “doing their jobs”. How else can you account for someone who enforces someone else’s law? You can’t pick and choose. You have to enforce them all. In order to do so, you give up your right to consider what’s right and do what your told.

      LEO’s are so focused on doing what they’re told that they consider the Constitution an impediment that needs to be worked around, not supported. Justice has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    10. #10 |  SamK | 

      ^^ Dave.

      sometimes you actually manage to post something that keeps me from writing a novella just because you said it first and better.

    11. #11 |  Marty | 

      I wrote a letter to douche Greenbaum’s supervisor a few days ago, but haven’t received a reply. Joe Pulitzer’s rolling in his grave that one of his ‘reporters’ has so little respect for the first amendment…

    12. #12 |  Carl Drega | 


    13. #13 |  Tokin42 | 

      Found this on reason this weekend:

    14. #14 |  Daniel V. | 

      One thing I noticed about the Greenbaum douche: The story said the teacher resigned, and was not fired. It doesn’t say that they were going to fire the teacher, just that the principal confronted him or her. A firing may have been imminent, but the story doesn’t say that. Is there some kind of regulation in Missouri about if a teacher gets fired, they can’t get another teaching job? Maybe the principal gave the teacher a chance to resign so he or she could go somewhere else to teach, like they do with cops who break the law? Either way, it seems significant that the teacher resigned instead of being fired. But Greenbaum is still a douche.

    15. #15 |  Radley Balko | 

      Please don’t post home addresses on this site.

    16. #16 |  SusanK | 

      Tokin42: that link is what I like to consider “internet justice”. Who needs courts and cops when you have people who can whip out web pages in short course with well-organized information?
      I truly enjoyed following that link.

    17. #17 |  Steve Verdon | 


      That link is pure win.

    18. #18 |  Mike T | 

      The irony of the prosperity gospel is that it is precisely the opposite of what Jesus tells the church to expect from the world, beginning with “if the world hates you for my sake…”

      Being a Christian in most of Africa, the Middle East or Asia today is more likely to result in persecution or death than prosperity in this life…

    19. #19 |  OGRE | 


      Troll much?

    20. #20 |  Mark S. | 

      Douche-bagger: (n.) – A person who identifies his or herself with the Tea-Bagger movement and is now running for elected office to cleanse the Republican Party.

    21. #21 |  Scott K | 

      Not to nit pick Radley, but the pussy douchebag’s name is Kurt Greenbaum, not Ken Greenbaum.

      Also, pro poker players have been known to get their bankrolls stolen by DEA types in airports. I don’t have the article handy, but IIRC one pro was invited to a game in Los Angeles, but he was somewhere else (Vegas maybe?) So he got out his stacks of hundreds, went to the airport, paid cash for a ticket (red flag I guess), and got hijacked by security and the cops. They took his entire bankroll…$50,000 or something like that, and never charged him with anything.

      The Ron Paul treasurer guy comes to mind as well.

      Special Agent Roberto Bryan Jr. of the New Orleans Division of the DEA said, “No legitimate businessman travels with $120,000 in cash through the airport.”

      Meaning: Just because I “say” a legitimate businessman would never travel with $120,000 in cash through the airport, even though carrying cash is 100% LEGAL, they *must* be guilty of something, because I say so and all us Feds would really like to buy some new Hummers and assault rifles, so we’ll just make up this crime of “having too much money on you” and shake people down whenever we can. Straight Cash Homey.

    22. #22 |  Kino | 

      @4 ogre that’s the most misquoted scripture in the bible , it’s lost in translation , the original hebrew text translated correctly would read :it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needleGATE , than for a rich man to enter heaven .
      in those day of walled cities the only way people could enter the city at night was through the needle gate named because of its shape, to enter you had to unload your possessions , lead the camel through then bring in your possesions in and then load them back onto the camel , what it means basically is that you had to be willing to let go of your posessions and follow god to get to heaven merely being rich doesn’t spell doom any more than being poor will get you to heaven , anyways what is rich ? and who decides , from a third world perspective most americans are rich , many who would consider themselves poor or middle class soo…….

    23. #23 |  Kino | 

      @#6 great rant and someone please correct me if I’m wrong but as I understand it , it is a federal crime to carry more than 10,000. in cash now , not that I agree with that either just pointing it out

      please don’t kill the messenger LOL

    24. #24 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #23 Kino

      @#6 great rant and someone please correct me if I’m wrong but as I understand it , it is a federal crime to carry more than 10,000. in cash now , not that I agree with that either just pointing it out

      I don’t think there is any restrictions on how much cash you can carry when traveling domestically (as was the case with the $120,000 that was seized). There is a requirement that you declare any cash when you’re carrying more than $10,000 internationally.

    25. #25 |  Dave Krueger | 

      That should have been: I don’t think there ARE any restrictions…

    26. #26 |  Windy | 

      Asset forfeiture is nothing more than legalized theft, not so very different from legalized theft via taxes and monetary inflation. Regardless the mechanism, government almost always ends up with nearly all of everyone’s money.

    27. #27 |  Ben | 

      I’m only half way through the Christianity article, but I’m reminded of why I like punk rock to much. They call bullshiat bullshiat.

      We’ve got the American Jesus
      Bolstering national faith
      We’ve got the American Jesus
      Overwhelming millions every day

    28. #28 |  OGRE | 


      Thats a rather simple way to explain the parable.

      First, its generally understood that the Gospels were originally written in Greek. Theres much debate on whether any were originally written in Aramaic. There is little to no evidence to suggest that Hebrew would have been used, particularly because Aramaic was the common tongue spoken in Judea at that time. Regardless of what language the original gospels were in, it is pretty well accepted that Jesus spoke in Aramaic.

      Second, what you have stated is a common explanation of the parable. But it is open to debate. The Greek words used for ‘needle’ do mean exactly that, and two different words for ‘needle’ are used in different gospels. Its possible that the phrase as would have been spoken in Aramaic was a pun or idiom, as ‘eye of the needle’ was not an uncommon saying among Jewish literature. However, the apocryphal Acts of Peter and Andrew clearly refers to a literal camel passing through a literal needle, so it is quite possible that the phrase was an understood idiom from that time that suggests something that is nearly impossible to accomplish.

      As for the ‘gate’ explanation, there is little evidence to suggest the existence of such a gate. The Acts of Peter and Andrew discuss a miracle of opening a needle’s eye to the size of a gate so that a camel can pass through, so that might be where that explanation is from.

      In any event, most don’t interpret the parable to mean that it is impossible for a rich man to enter heaven, just that it is very difficult. It is a parable after all, a teaching tool. And Jewish written tradition is filled with such hyperbolic phrasings.

      My quoting of the parable was simply to contrast the well known teachings of Jesus with those of the pastor who is preaching ‘prosperity.’ I’m not certain why so much is being read into what I wrote.