Morning Links

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
  • The great civil libertarian Harvey Silverglate is blogging over at the Volokh Conspiracy.
  • Physics book seen in Tiger Woods’ wrecked SUV moves up bestseller charts.
  • Michigan’s lieutenant governor announces cunning plan to chase yet more business and jobs out of the state.
  • So apparently, we’ve been meddling in Uganda’s civil war, too.
  • This new U.K. sitcom with Will Arnett and David Cross looks great. Arnett should be working much, much more than he does. The man is funny.
  • So the North Carolina Constitution requires belief in God to hold public office? Sad part is, the people suing here are trying to get that clause enforced, not struck down.

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  • 80 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I got an idea. Maybe Michigan should repeal most of the pro-union legislation that drove industry out of their state.

      Hahaha! Just kidding. I know unions are good for the economy and unionization has nothing to do with the mass exodus of manufacturing from Michigan and the resulting unemployment. If only Congress would pass the employee “free choice” act so we could bring that kind of prosperity to the rest of the country.

    2. #2 |  Fluffy | 

      From Pittsfield, MA:

      Get challenged to a fight by an off-duty cop in a bar.
      Go outside bar with off-duty cop to fight.
      Win fight.
      Get arrested.
      Cop gets off scot-free.

      Another isolated incident.

    3. #3 |  Fluffy | 

      Radley, did you see in the Bronx yesterday the City Council voted to refuse to allow a vacant and derelict Armory to be restored to be a shopping mall, because the developer couldn’t guarantee that all of the eventual tenants would “pay a living wage”?

      One of the councillors openly said she’d rather have no jobs than have some of the jobs at the mall be low-wage.

    4. #4 |  Jim Collins | 

      “Pay their water bill.” What an asshole. Problem is, he’ll probably get a standing ovation when he announces this plan. I love these clowns. They put their constituants out on a limb and then start sawing on it. When it collapses, they find someone else to blame it on.

      I wonder if those women in Detroit ever got their “share” of Obama’s stash? If you want more info on Obama’s stash you can find it at

    5. #5 |  Dave Krueger | 

      The U.S. military is involved in a country with absolutely no strategic national defense value? Does that mean our isolationism is officially over? Does this intervention mean that the U.S. is finally going to step up to the plate and become the guardian of world order that the world has universally been begging us to be? Are we finally going to gain back the respect we lost when we retreated from the world stage and selfishly decided to end our foreign adventurism and focus on problems within our own borders? Are we going to align ourselves with other countries and station U.S. troops in foreign lands as a message to the rest of the world that the U.S. is willing, in fact anxious, to shed American and (especially) foreign blood in the quest to bring peace, progress, and prosperity to the world?

      I can’t wait!

    6. #6 |  Dave Krueger | 

      From the North Carolina item. “I’m a Christian man. I have problems with people who don’t believe in God.”

      I’m sure this is not the norm among Christians. In fact, I know Christians respect separation of church and state and will stand up for this atheist councilman and roundly denounce any effort to oust him.

      And then right after they’re done with that they will probably march on Washington demanding that “In God We Trust” be removed from U.S. currency.

    7. #7 |  Nando | 

      Most people, especially those that live here in NC (trust me on this), don’t know the difference between an Atheist and an Agnostic. By his own words, he says, “The question of whether or not God exists is not particularly interesting to me”. He isn’t denying the existence of God, he’s merely not convinced that one exists.

      Since the NC provision states that only those “who shall deny the being of Almighty God” aren’t eligible, it would seem that an Agnostic can legally hold office, while an Atheist cannot. Cecil Bothwell seems to be an Agnostic.

    8. #8 |  dsmallwood | 

      i love that fact that MI is gonna tax water bottlers to support schools, when the schools have stopped serving bottled water. classic!

      Cherry is scheduled to announce details with GRCC President Steven Ender — who last month noted that bottled water will no longer be served at campus events as part of an environment-friendly plan.

    9. #9 |  Sam | 


      I’m as galled by the the story you told as anybody, but that doesn’t exactly match what the newspaper report is saying. In the newspaper’s version, there was a fistfight, followed by its end, followed by a cheapshot that knocked the officer out, followed by repeated blows to an unconscious man.

      I have no doubt that the police officer would have been treated differently had the roles been reversed, and that’s terrible, but it doesn’t justify tweaking the story to make it appear more sympathetic to civil liberties advocates.

    10. #10 |  Sam | 

      That said, should that report be incorrect, all of the dissatisfaction in the world is justified.

    11. #11 |  hamburglar007 | 

      Is it just me or does Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry look like a more grotesque Teddy Roosevelt?

    12. #12 |  Robert | 

      Ah, Asheville NC. My current domicile. (Well, almost. I live about 1/2 mile outside the city limits, at least until they decide to annex us… ) If I lived inside the limits I probably would have voted for this guy. I kind of hope that the lawsuit does go forward so that the state gov will have to officially strike down that part of our constitution.

      Quite a mix here. A large counterculture enclave surrounded by religion with the “Billy Graham Expressway” running right through town. That’s right, they named the highway ( officially I-240 ) after someone that’s still alive! His headquarters is only a few miles down the road. Sarah Palin stopped by a few days ago to bow down and kiss his ring. He’s the American Pope, don’t you know…

    13. #13 |  Tokin42 | 

      ‘THE INCREASINGLY POOR DECISIONS OF TODD MARGARET’ looks brilliant. Anyone have any idea if we can watch this online somewhere or are we locked out due to being in the states?

    14. #14 |  Jeff | 

      I wonder how much of the bias against the NC guy is because he calls himself an “atheist.” Here’s an example of that. I live in NC (though in the slightly more civilized part of the state), and when I asked the woman I’m dating to describe what she thought of when she heard the word “atheist,” she described something involving animal sacrifices and Satanism and all these awful stereotypes and such.

      The kicker? She doesn’t believe in God. Which of course makes her an atheist. When I informed her of this fact, the cognitive dissonance was absolutely blinding.

      My point is this – if such misperceptions can occur in relatively tolerant Raleigh, Flying Spaghetti Monster only knows what Asheville residents think. Atheism isn’t particularly visible down here, and until people realize that their neighbors (or they themselves!) are atheists and that there’s nothing really all that different about them, this kind of crap will keep occurring.

    15. #15 |  Jeff | 

      Robert, didn’t realize Asheville had a Billy Graham Parkway, though I guess it makes sense. Charlotte has a Billy Graham Parkway too. That’s why I live in Raleigh ;-)

    16. #16 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #7 Nando

      Most people, especially those that live here in NC (trust me on this), don’t know the difference between an Atheist and an Agnostic.

      Constitutionally (as in the U.S. Constitution), there should be no difference. Denying public office because someone lacks a belief in God or despises religion outright shouldn’t make one bit of difference once someone has been elected.

      To throw the case out because he technically isn’t an atheist is to side step the issue and leave it for someone else to deal with later.

    17. #17 |  Fluffy | 


      The police report reads that way. I suspect it reads that way specifically to establish a brief time period when the MUTUAL fight was over, in order to try to treat the last punch[es] as an entirely separate incident for the purposes of filing assault charges against only one party, to facilitate letting the cop off scot-free.

      And even if the police report is 100% accurate [ha ha ha] as far as I am concerned, if you start a bar fight you should not be able to say, “Well, I should get off with no charges, and the other guy should get all the charges, because halfway through the fight I decided I didn’t want to fight anymore and the other guy kept punching me anyway.”

    18. #18 |  Nando | 

      #16 Dave Krueger

      Constitutionally (as in the U.S. Constitution), there should be no difference. Denying public office because someone lacks a belief in God or despises religion outright shouldn’t make one bit of difference once someone has been elected.

      To throw the case out because he technically isn’t an atheist is to side step the issue and leave it for someone else to deal with later.

      Yes, I’m aware of this. However, I’m merely pointing out the ignorance (mostly self imposed and willingly kept) of people here in NC who think that an Atheist and an Agnostic are the same thing.

      I’m an Agnostic, having been raised Catholic and attending Catholic School for 12 years. I’m wholy aware that your belief in an invisible man has no bearing on being fit for public office and, as a consequense, shouldn’t be a consideration (and legally and constitutionally it is actually prohibited).


    19. #19 |  Nando | 

      Ah, I hate typos!

      Radley, we need an edit button. Sometimes we type too fast and don’t proof-read, LOL.

    20. #20 |  MDGuy | 

      #11 | hamburglar007 | December 15th, 2009 at 10:11 am
      Is it just me or does Michigan Lt. Gov. John Cherry look like a more grotesque Teddy Roosevelt?

      I was thinking more along the lines of Howard Taft.

    21. #21 |  Fluffy | 

      On the Michigan story:

      I’m obviously not pro-tax, and don’t want to help the statists by doing some of their thinking for them, but wouldn’t it be much smarter just to increase the bottle deposit on ALL WATER SOLD IN THE STATE by 10 cents a bottle?

      If you don’t single out the local bottlers, no one has any incentive to leave the state, and no one has any incentive to bring water in from out of state.

      Why structure it the way this bozo wants to structure it? Unless your aim is to deliberately destroy the local bottling industry, because you think Michigan is going to run out of water or something stupid like that.

    22. #22 |  PeeDub | 

      Yes. All ‘uns here in North Cackalacky is ignuhnt.

      ‘Ceptin’ those of us that ain’t, ‘course.

      And I have no problem with highways being named after Billy Graham. He’s actually one of the very few evangelists that hasn’t stepped in the poo. During the 60’s he actively opposed segregation, as a white religious southerner (I know, right?) As a religious believer, I question his intelligence, but his character is above reproach.

    23. #23 |  PeeDub | 

      An interesting quote from Billy Graham to add …

      He refused to join Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority in 1979, saying: “I’m for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven’t been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future.”

    24. #24 |  John Wilburn | 

      #2 Fluffy

      “Pittsfield Police Capt. John Mullin said there is nothing in this incident to indicate “at this point that Officer McHugh was out of line.””

      “McHugh and Laughran exchanged words in the restaurant and then went out to the parking lot where they argued some more. Shoving escalated to a few punches and some wrestling on the ground.”

      I guess I’m missing something here, but wouldn’t it be “out of line” for a police officer to “step outside” with someone he was arguing with (no doubt, it had something to do with whose dick was bigger), and subsequently to permit the situation to escalate into an exchange of blows? Also – as far as I know, there is no such thing as an, “off-duty police officer.”

      This sounds like something to be expected of a couple five-year-olds…

    25. #25 |  jistanidiot | 

      Why is everyone out to get bottled water? The last few months we’ve seen everything from it hurts the environment to it is deadly to drink. What happened some bottled water executive speak out against an Obama program?

    26. #26 |  Sam | 


      Again, if the report is wrong, then feel free to go ballistic. It’s certainly absurd on its face that both weren’t charged with whatever the applicable crime is.

      But if the fight was over, and one party then landed a cheap shot and kept going after the other guy was out cold, that’s something else altogether. Surely you’re not defending that sort of behavior.

    27. #27 |  Jeff | 

      PeeDub, fair point. I remember a story I heard once about Graham and his group coming to Raleigh for an event and wanting to play golf at a country club in Cary (I think it was MacGregor Downs). One of Graham’s group was black, and the club – at the time segregated – didn’t want the black guy playing on their course. Graham took his game elsewhere.

      Graham’s not a horrible person, but he is very political, and I doubt he’d be particularly friendly to an atheist officeholder given the opportunity.

    28. #28 |  PeeDub | 

      Jeff, I don’t think he is a political person, but he has been sought out by political people. I think he tries to separate the bodies of church and state while still believing that church can and should administer and guide *members* of state. Honestly, I think he’d answer the question of atheistic office holders more “spiritually” than you might give him credit for.

      I did grow up in Charlotte and am an agnostic.

    29. #29 |  PeeDub | 

      To close the tangent, I don’t think North Carolinians should be marked down for honoring someone like Billy Graham. (Now Dean Smith is another question ….)

    30. #30 |  MikeZ | 

      It’s perhaps worth noting that the weather in Massachusetts last Saturday night would make it less likely for any independent witnesses to be around. Besides I’m not sure I really buy a sucker punch argument only ‘several seconds’ after you were actually fighting.
      Presuming I was in a fight this is when I would be MOST alert. Why would you take your eyes off somebody who 10 seconds earlier trying to punch you?

      I would agree though that anything after the officer was out cold is over the line, of course so is “taking it outside”. You only take it outside when you choose to go fight, or the bouncer bartender kicks you out (because your being disorderly in the club). Either way that seems like a disorderly conduct charge is due for both of them. So the Police Captain’s statement that his officer did nothing wrong makes me strongly doubt any police report on this matter. If the Captain had said they both were disorderly and got written up for that, I would have been inclined as you were to trust the police statement more.

    31. #31 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      “”It’s time for the big bottlers to pay their water bill, just like you and I do,” Cherry posted on the site. “We can use the proceeds from that water bill to fund the education our young people need to compete, as well as the protection of our water resources Michigan desperately needs.””

      BECAUSE we just know that corp taxes are never passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices or lower wages.

      $100 says that big bottlers didn’t buy this guy off enough.

    32. #32 |  Fluffy | 

      OK, since we have a story here about atheists having their rights violated, I’m going to toss one up about a Christian having his rights violated:

      In Massachusetts a teacher asked a bunch of 8 year old’s to draw something that reminded them of Christmas. One boy drew a picture of a crucifix. The boy has been suspended and is being ordered to undergo psychological counseling because his drawing was “violent”.

      As far as I am concerned, everyone in the chain of command here from the teacher on up has to be fired, and I hope this school district loses its fucking blouse in a lawsuit, and I hope the taxpayers in this district get royally fucked for employing a group of absolute fuckwads like these.

    33. #33 |  nathan | 

      Dave Krueger

      In fact, I know Christians respect separation of church and state and will stand up for this atheist councilman and roundly denounce any effort to oust him.

      I know you’re being sarcastic, but had you written that as some Christians you’d have been correct. I am one of them, as are most of the folks in my church community, as are many in the thousands of similar communities nation and worldwide. Some of us work for places like the ACLU, fighting to support folks like this, because of our Christian faith. Some of us think being a Christian means being called to stop being assholes; the problem is that that makes us the quiet ones that you don’t hear about.

      Not all libertarians are pothead atheists about to use their 2nd amendment rights to take out the nearest government employee, yet that seems to be the common portrayal there, too.

    34. #34 |  ClassAction | 


      The campaign against bottled water has been going on for years – and for good reason. For those in the developed world, it’s a tremendously inefficient and wasteful method of obtaining a generally poorer quality of water than what’s readily available from the tap. Of course, that doesn’t mean I think any government should tax bottled water out of existence, but neither does that mean I have to legitimize every successful marketing campaign.

    35. #35 |  Highway | 

      #21, as for why it’s on in-state bottlers, I kinda got the impression from the article and its comments that there’s some resentment towards these bottlers for taking ‘their’ water and shipping it off. Like they’re stealing the water, and not paying for it.

      I honestly can’t imagine they don’t pay the usage for the amount of water they take, unless the districts they’re in don’t have a ‘per-unit’ cost of water. It’s a super stupid location that only has a general tax for utility and doesn’t have a per-unit cost for water supply.

      I know that a lot of bottled water is really just tap water from somewhere else (Pepsi’s Aquafina and Coca-Cola’s Dasani especially). Maybe they run it through a filter, but generally, bottled water is the same as your tap water run through a Brita filter.

    36. #36 |  nathan | 

      Boyd Durkin

      $100 says that big bottlers didn’t buy this guy off enough.

      As much as that may be the case elsewhere, there’s a desperation up here in MI that probably explains it better. Basically, they regulated everything that moved, and taxed everything that moved and failed to move, and used to to pay for… well, we don’t really know. Nothing seems to work, but the money all goes away. And now the jobs left, and the people left, so they are getting desperate.

      This is not even close to the oddest revenue generation idea we’ve had tossed out there in the past year. If I didn’t live here I might find it amusing. As it is, I expect it won’t be long before the state starts charging me $$ every time I flush a toilet or breathe air. And, around here, that means they will spend $$$$$$ for the method to collect the $$ in revenue.

    37. #37 |  scottp | 

      Fluffy, that story has more to do with the idiocy of zero tolerance policies than it does with someone having their religious rights violated.

    38. #38 |  Nando | 

      #32 Fluffy,

      I spoke of ignorance in my above posts, but his takes the cake. These educators do not understand that the word Christmas comes from Cristes maesse (the mass, or feast, of Christ). So, this kid drew the most famous image of Christ (that of him on the cross) when asked what the Feast of Christ day reminds him of and they suspend him? What a bunch of morons!

    39. #39 |  Fluffy | 

      Well, the story appeared in Boston papers first, but all the commenters are claiming to have emailed the story to Drudge, so I bet Drudge has it up by the end of the day.

      Ten days before Christmas and Massachusetts hands Drudge the perfect War on Christmas story? Globe and Herald websites, prepare to crash.

      O’Reilly will wet himself with happiness when he sees this story in his inbox.

    40. #40 |  Ashville | 

      The Asheville case explains itself once you see just who is suing to get the clause enforced: H. K. Edgerton. As you can see from that link, Mr. Edgerton is a bit… uh, touched.

    41. #41 |  J sub D | 

      One opponent, H. K. Edgerton, is threatening to file suit against the city to challenge Mr. Bothwell’s swearing in. “My father was a Baptist minister,” Edgerton said. “I’m a Christian man. I have problems with people who don’t believe in God.”

      Being an ex-member* of the one true church, founded by our LORD Jesus Christ through his apostle Peter (Roman Catholic) I have a problem with heretical Baptists.

      I still don’t think travelling down the road to Hell as all Baptists do disqualifies them from holding public office.

      * I’m now an atheist that laughs at the folly of fundie Christians.

    42. #42 |  BamBam | 

      So apparently, we’ve been meddling in Uganda’s civil war, too.

      The default view should be “where is this country’s and its real leaders (they ain’t in the White House) not meddling?” It’s all about empire and resources. Follow the money …

    43. #43 |  mark robbins | 

      Personally, I hate when people freak out about personal consumer decisions with at best marginal impacts on the environment. The amount of waste produced by plastic water bottles every year is a lot, if you’re not used to the scale that waste products are produced, and more or less conscientiously disposed of, every year.

      Even that fear-mongering graphic isn’t really that scary. It’s quite deceptive, but not very scary. It goes back and forth between world numbers and USA numbers with impunity, calling out world numbers when they’re scary, but leaving you to assume that big numbers are USA only. And the numbers aren’t even that big. 1.5 million tons of waste are produced by plastic water bottles every year worldwide. Considering the disposal cost of a ton of trash is about 56 dollars a ton. So the world spends about 90 million a year disposing of plastic water bottles. Considering that in some parts of the world bottled you either drink bottled water or get a nasty bacterial infection, it seems like a pretty cheap alternative. In other words, big fucking deal.

      Getting companies to cut back on their production of non-essential carcinogens and toxic elements that contaminate landfills would be a much better exercise.

    44. #44 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      How about MI (and other states) cut back on spending instead of raise taxes? Great Odin knows the people of MI are personally familiar with this response to declining revenue.

      PS: I’ll still make the $100 bet. Someone didn’t grease the politician.

    45. #45 |  Alaska | 

      The article re: US aiding Uganda had another interesting story: apparently we may be starting another housing bubble.

      The interesting quote from that article, which I am surprised that Radley did not highlight, is:

      The government’s solution to the housing crisis might, ironically, be causing the new problem, by encouraging irresponsible home buying by people who aren’t able to afford it. The Federal Housing Administration, which backed nearly 2 million mortgages in 2009, saw the percentage of its loans that are delinquent or in foreclosure rise to nearly 8 percent in June, and the agency is quickly burning through its reserves for loan losses. A congressional committee has been formed to investigate the losses. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has said that Congress should look into the potential trade-offs of federal loan support.

    46. #46 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      If we did away with bottled water, the US economy would collapse and nukes would go off at your daycare.

      Hey, I’m just trying to fit in with Congress.

    47. #47 |  Cynical in CA | 

      The two salient points from the Pittsfield, MA brouhaha between the cop and the bar patron:

      1. NEVER talk to the police. EVER.

      2. A cop is severely injured in the hospital. GOOD. I’m absolutely certain he did something to deserve it, either on the evening in question or at some point in his life.

      That’s all I got. This happened about 3000 miles from where I live, so I really give about as much of a shit about it as if it happened in Guatemala.

    48. #48 |  Jim Collins | 

      The plastic used in water bottles is designed to break down in sunlight, of course we bury it. Recycling sucks! The idea is good, it is the implimentation that is bad. It got bad when government got involved. You would think that if a company just hauled away all of the recyclable materials and none of it ended up in landfills that it would be a good thing. Wrong! Municipalities actually make recycling companies bid for the rights to collect in their area. The problem is that the expenses in collecting, sorting and paying off the locals makes it a money losing proposition. There are hundreds of ways to recycle the plastic used in water bottles, it just isn’t cost effective to do it.

    49. #49 |  SJE | 

      The union problem is not restricted to MI and the UAW. The public sector unions are a big source of the problems in CA, too.

    50. #50 |  SJE | 

      Cynical: the weird thing about the cop bar fight story is (according to the comments) is that both guys are old friends and went on vacation together with their wives. They both got plastered and into a fight.

      It was good to see, however, people on that comment board calling for the police to be held to a higher standard of not getting into fights where possible, and that such stupid behavior on the part of the cop should be grounds for having him suspended for a while.

    51. #51 |  Tokin42 | 

      #32 | Fluffy | December 15th, 2009 at 12:08 pm …..

      What fluffy said.

    52. #52 |  ClassAction | 


      As near as I can tell, nobody here is “freaking out” about bottled water. However, simply labeling something a “consumer decision” doesn’t insulate it from criticism. Consumer decisions, like all other decisions, are subject to varying levels of scrutiny, and can be good, bad, wise or unwise. It just so happens that for the vast majority of people in the developed world, the decision to, say, buy bottles of water for personal use in the home, is silly, unnecessary, expensive, wasteful and marginally less safe than the tap alternative. Are people who do it anyway bad people? I doubt it, but they are, to a large extent, dupes of a prolonged, extremely successful marketing campaign. It’s a vice, not a sin.

    53. #53 |  Robert | 

      Yeah, It took me about a year to convince my new wife to stop buying bottled water and use a thermos and the tap water instead. She was hooked pretty good by the marketing. I was refilling her empties from the tap and putting them back in the fridge and she never noticed. (I didn’t do it if she’d already thrown the bottle in the trash though) After awhile I told her, and the fact that she wasn’t able to tell the difference pretty much did the trick.

    54. #54 |  bob42 | 

      The Texas constitution also has a statute requiring a religious test for public office. But its unlikely that anyone will attempt to use it simply because it is virtually impossible for a non-believer to be elected here, especially in the republican half of the two party duopoly. For example, below is the text of a resolution passed at a county convention last year.

      The Republican Party of Galveston County believes God is Sovereign over the entire world and has divinely instituted civil government among men for His own glory and for the public good. For the administration of this institution He has ordained civil rulers to exercise their authority under Him in obedience to His laws…

      I think that goes beyond a benign expression personal faith. It a bold statement of Christian dominionism and a statement of the desire to impose via force of government their specific faith based worldview.

      Laws should not establish a religious test for office, but people will, and I’m no exception. For example, if you hear god’s voice modulated over the hum of your electric razor telling you to invade Iraq, you’re not getting my vote. If you think the earth is about 10,000 years old, that the rapture will occur in your lifetime, and that god told you be McCain’s running mate, you’re outta luck with me.

    55. #55 |  Elroy | 

      Tiger Woods is still a big name, and still has power when it comes to endorsements. This book is a good example. I have an idea, how about endorsing a line of golf gear with safety devices for philandering husbands.

    56. #56 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #52 ClassAction

      I doubt it, but they are, to a large extent, dupes of a prolonged, extremely successful marketing campaign.

      I’d say it’s more like a small part of a large movement that is focused on health and a germ/chemical free environment. To the extent that the entire movement is fabricated by commercial/political interests, I would agree that marketing plays a part. But, the reality is that marketing can’t usually create a demand where none would otherwise exist. In other words, the demand preceded the marketing. Marketeers can’t create a profitable popular demand for something out of thin air. All they can do is take what’s there and capitalize on it.

      It’s a vice, not a sin.

      If drinking bottled water is a vice, then I think the threshold for being a vice needs to be raised.

      And no, I don’t drink bottled water. I take my wife’s empty bottles and refill them with tap water and stick ’em in the fridge. To her, my “vice” is that I’m a friggin’ tightwad.

    57. #57 |  ClassAction | 


      Dave, I have to disagree with you about the fundamental nature of advertising. Advertising doesn’t simply channel existing demand; it actually creates it in many cases. I guarantee you that there wasn’t a huge, unfocused demand for small, electronic hamsters prior to the successful marketing campaign for Zhu Zhu pets – they actually created it. There’s a whole advertising literature on marketing to children, and the creation of desires that weren’t there already is the entire point of it. Adults are not that much more complex.

      But aside from that, bottled water advertisers actually create impressions about bottled water that are simply not true, and sell the fabrication. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a Poland Spring bottling plant; it’s not quite what you think of when you think of “what it means to be from Maine.”

    58. #58 |  Babatunde | 

      If you don’t like the Billy Graham Expressway, you could always pretend that it is named after the pro-wrestler as opposed to the preacher.

    59. #59 |  heidi | 

      Link to episode of David Cross show:

    60. #60 |  Fluffy | 

      “I guarantee you that there wasn’t a huge, unfocused demand for small, electronic hamsters prior to the successful marketing campaign for Zhu Zhu pets – they actually created it.”

      So it’s your position that if no one ever marketed a new toy, there would be no demand for new toys – ever?

      There is massive and ongoing demand for new and novel toys. There have been toy robots and toy animals for decades [if not millennia in the case of toy animals]. I think you’re drastically underestimating the pre-existing demand for this product, mainly because you’re engaging in a shockingly narrow definition of the nature of the demand in question.

    61. #61 |  ClassAction | 


      Conversely, it seems clear to me that when you define the scope of demand as “new” and “novel” you are basically expanding the definition to the point of uselessness. You might as well say something vague like there is always a demand for “fun,” and Zhu Zhu pets is just marketing to that demand, but then it becomes patently obvious that you’re not actually saying anything at all.

    62. #62 |  World’s Strangest | Sales of Tiger Woods’ Physics Book Way Up | 

      […] via Radley Balko | Photo: Handout/Getty […]

    63. #63 |  Jerri Lynn Ward | 

      Re: The Religious test

      I’m Christian and I am much more concerned about this piece of hypocrisy than the non-believer politician: Christian leaders intent on starving Iranians. It’s completely disgusting.

      Those Christians who want to throw the politician out of office need to go back to the Bible to read about God working through the pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar. The son of the Baptist minister needs to also read his history. Roger Williams, the Baptist and founder of Rhode Island, interpreted the biblical history of Nebuchadnezzar to support limiting governmental interference in religious matters (such as state-establishment of religion).

      Also, David Krueger, I support taking “In God We Trust” off our currency because fiat currency is completely unbiblical. Diverse weights and measures and all that. Every time I hear my fellow Christians moaning about that, I feel sick.

    64. #64 |  supercat | 

      How much revenue would a $0.50/gallon or higher tax on in-state bottlers collect? I could imagine a $0.01/bottle tax as possibly collecting some revenue (even though for typical-sized bottles such a fee would still be higher than consumer retail water rates) but taxing in-state bottlers at a rate which exceeds the cost of out-of-state bottled water is ridiculous.

    65. #65 |  Michael Chaney | 

      #33 Nathan

      What he said.

    66. #66 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #33 nathan

      Dave Krueger

      Not all libertarians are pothead atheists about to use their 2nd amendment rights to take out the nearest government employee…

      True, but if we work real hard at it, we can get rid of those who aren’t.

    67. #67 |  Cynical in CA | 

      Tiger Woods needs to cultivate a bad-boy image or he will never sell another product again, perhaps not even professional golf.

      He is absolute toast in the mainstream now.

      I suggest he consult with Ed Hardy and maybe some penis-enlargement or stimulant products.

      I haven’t seen a witchhunt like this in a long time. Very few have fallen from such grand heights to such a deep nadir, and he’s not done falling yet.

      America the Vindictive …

    68. #68 |  ZappaCrappa | 

      I once lived in North Carolina. Notice I say “once”. Worst state I have EVER lived in and I’ve lived in 15. It was even worse than Kentucky! You hear that North Carolina? WORSE than Kentucky! That’s saying something right there. I’m not surprised by this move. It was the most politically FUBAR’ed place EVER! And the christians wonder why all the atheist are gunning for them and think it’s open war on christians. Look in the mirror hypocrites…look in the mirror. That’s desperation you see. Grasping at straws. Do you realize how absolutely pitiful and classless that move is? Do you? I’m sure you don’t. Well…maybe you should go to church and pray on it…and pray for your brother Oral Roberts too. I see he’s finally bit the big one…obviously one of you sinners out there didn’t send him his dollar and he’s been called home. I wonder if heaven is a little hotter than he thought it would be? heh heh. Good riddance : )

      End rant

    69. #69 |  mark robbins | 

      “It just so happens that for the vast majority of people in the developed world, the decision to, say, buy bottles of water for personal use in the home, is silly, unnecessary, expensive, wasteful and marginally less safe than the tap alternative.”

      So you’re arbitrating the decisions of hundreds of millions, nay, billions, of individuals based on what, exactly? Your gut? People pay more for convenience all the time. One man’s arbitrary convenience is another man’s essential. Who are you to judge millions of people at a swipe? The fact that the most expensive part of selling any liquid is bottling, transporting, and retailing, doesn’t mean it’s not a valid product. And the environmental impact is, as I said earlier, marginal. There are a lot of things we could do differently that would require much less effort from many fewer people with more dramatic results, if the goal was to benefit the environment. I don’t understand how bottled water gets at the top of people’s list of irresponsible consumerism so frequently.

      “I doubt it, but they are, to a large extent, dupes of a prolonged, extremely successful marketing campaign.”

      So everyone who digs the convenience and dependability of bottled water are dupes? I don’t drink bottled water, I like having a filter on the sink and in my fridge, but for some that’s a pain in the ass. So they drink bottled water, employ thousands of people, work marginally harder to enjoy their convenience, and don’t really impact the world for the worse in any way. What’s the problem?

      The reason I came back actually was to comment on the Crucifix picture article. That’s a bunch of hooey. The dad contacted the media after being sold a bunch of goods by his son and not checking his facts first. Wonder if the guy is a commenter here, maybe.

      Notice the “fire everyone and salt the earth where the school once stood” comment is now at 20+ dings. Nice.

    70. #70 |  Roy | 

      “…the decision to, say, buy bottles of water for personal use in the home, is silly, unnecessary, expensive, wasteful and marginally less safe than the tap alternative.”

      That’s your opinion. For a lot of those folks, the decision to buy bottled water is for no other reason than that their “tap alternative”, tastes like ass – with a hint of chlorine. Some municipal water supplies are better than others, but that’s irrelevant.

      What is relevant, is that they are all buying those bottles of water with their own money, for their own personal use. Their reason why, is nobodies business but their own.

    71. #71 |  Henway | 

      As to the NC atheist thing – EVERYBODY’S WRONG!

      The Bible-thumpers are right. For the wrong reason. Ignoring a law because it’s seemingly archaic is what killed the US Constitution. No different in this case than it is when we are called 4th Amendment crybabies with a “9/10” attitude.

      Radley, in Fairfax City, there’s a beautiful old building called the Huddleston Library. I’m old enough to remember when that was actually the library there. It was willed to the city WAAAAY back in the day when Fairfax was a courthouse, law offices and feed stores. Back in the 80s, I remember reading an article that laughed about how one of the conditions of the will was that the building would always remain segregated. Ha ha.

      His heirs should’ve fought to gain the property back. If he was so silly to believe in segregation, he was just as silly to believe that Fairfax would remain a rural community that needed a benefactor to provide a library.

      NC should either remove this guy from office, or change their constitution. Otherwise, they don’t have a constitution.

      Sound familiar?

    72. #72 |  ClassAction | 


      That’s just the disguised “consumer choice” argument. The rationale is the same: a “personal decision” or “consumer choice” is above judgment. That’s simply not the case. You can make a personal decision that is unwise and foolish, even if it has nothing but a marginal effect on me.

      Presumably, if it’s “nobodies business but their own” whether or not to drink bottled water, you find all marketing FOR bottled water to be just as objectionable as say, my position that drinking bottled water is generally foolish, since both are attempts (however feeble) to sway your decision whether or not to drink bottled water in one direction or the other.

    73. #73 |  ClassAction | 


      Well, various factors went into my determination.

      I adjudged the consumption of bottled water in the home (in the majority of the industrialized world) to be unnecessary, because it’s not necessary.

      I adjudged it expensive, because it’s more expensive than the alternative.

      I adjudged it wasteful, because it produces more waste than the alternative.

      I adjudged it marginally less safe, because it is, in fact, based upon the more stringent testing requirements of municipal water and the generally laxity of testing requirements for bottled water, marginally less safe.

      But most importantly, I adjudged it silly because anyone that casts a blind eye to the above is, I would argue, pretty silly.

      If that means I am judging millions (NAY, BILLIONS!) of people “at a swipe” – well, so?

    74. #74 |  Dave Krueger | 

      #63 | Jerri Lynn Ward

      Also, David Krueger, I support taking “In God We Trust” off our currency because fiat currency is completely unbiblical.

      I can’t tell you what great comfort that gives me. Fiat currency is certainly not deserving of association with The Almighty. The nerve of those people putting In God We Trust on anything less than a currency backed by a precious metal…

    75. #75 |  Roy | 

      I don’t really care about your “adjudging”. You are as entitled to your own opinion as anyone.

      However, your perception of the needs of others has *no* bearing on how they spend their own money.

    76. #76 |  Roy | 

      “…and I’ve lived in 15. [states]”

      Based on that post, I am 100% certain that the quality of life got better in 14 of them.

    77. #77 |  Roy | 

      “Presumably, if it’s “nobodies business but their own” whether or not to drink bottled water, you find all marketing FOR bottled water to be just as objectionable…”

      You must be a liberal Democrat because you “presume” an awful lot.

      Can I play too?

      I’ll “presume” that you want to make bottled water illegal. After all, you know best how everyone else should live their own lives.

      Okay, all snark aside, it’s like this:

      I don’t care if the it’s mostly Louisiana swamp mud. If I want to buy a bottle of it – with my own money, for my own use – it’s none of your damn business.

    78. #78 |  ClassAction | 


      You should only presume things not already in evidence. I suggest you read what you’re responding to, since I’ve addressed every single one of your points already.

    79. #79 |  Mark F. | 

      Well, I suppose an “atheist” could say he believes the Universe is God and meet the N.C. requirement.

    80. #80 |  Jonathan | 

      So, watching the Colts game (as I’m sure you are, Radley) with my Dad, Sprotsnet (I’m in Canada) had a little promo for some more news about Tiger Woods. My Dad and I groaned, then I mentioned the physics book. Looked it up, and it turns out that my Dad likes John Gribbon’s work, so now I might have to buy him a copy for Christmas.

      Oh, Reggie Wayne just scored. With five minutes left, I don’t see the Jags pulling it out.