Morning Links

Friday, December 18th, 2009
  • The Washington Times editorial board and NRO contributor Hans A. von Spakovsky decry the “persecution” of Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. No, really.
  • Copenhagen climate summit leaves largest carbon footprint of any summit to date, producing in 11 days the “same amount [of carbon] produced each year by 2,300 Americans or 660,000 Ethiopians.”
  • A pictorial history of U.S. currency.
  • In his continuing guest sting over at the Volokh Conspiracy, Harvey Silverglate damns the press for its complacency and lack of skepticism in federal criminal cases.
  • Jack Shafer’s “stupid drug story of the week” comes courtesy of the Washington Post.
  • Illinois’ Department of Agriculture takes aim at unlicensed charcuterie. (WARNING: Story contains disturbing details about senseless waste of 80 pounds of premium bacon. May be uncomfortable for some bacon-loving readers.)

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  • 28 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  djm | 

      Why is it that “tough on crime” types care so much more about “tough” than they do about “crime?”

    2. #2 |  Mattocracy | 

      It would be nice if the “Tough on Crime” people would be tough on the crimes committed by law enforcement.

    3. #3 |  JS | 

      I don’t get it. I swear to God I just don’t get it. I have friends who are “tough on crime, law and order” conservatives, and I honestly don’t understand how they cannot see the danger of allowing the police to do the things they do in this country. It seems like their fear of criminals and illegal aliens (mostly non-whites) over-rides every other consideration. So is it just racism? I honestly don’t think it is but I don’t understand it. Why the hell would anyone refuse to condemn Sheriff Joe’s obvious abuses?

    4. #4 |  Mattocracy | 

      I don’t want to sound like a global warming apologist, but I think a lot of that carbon released in Copenhagen would have been released one way or another. If all the participants hadn’t flown to Denmark, half of them would’ve just flown somewhere else for some other meeting and left a carbon footprint there. I appreciate irony and all, but I’m sure world wide carbon emissions didn’t increase that much because of the summit.

    5. #5 |  hamburglar007 | 

      I am not a libertarian, however I do believe in smaller government control. With that said, I do think that food inspection is a legitimate government role, as it allows problems such as contamination to be tracked back to the source. It doesn’t seem like the Ill dept of agriculture overreacted too badly, at least as far as the bacon goes. The out of state inspection of the head cheese (disgusting as it may be) should have been recognized (that part of it might have violated interstate commerce laws). However, the restaurant wasn’t shut down, all food discarded, they kept their focus on the two questionable items. In a state notorious for bribes, they probably got off easy.

    6. #6 |  Boyd Durkin | 

      I do think that food inspection is a legitimate government role,

      But it competes with Boyd Food Inspection, Inc. and all that comes with it.

    7. #7 |  J sub D | 

      Jack Shafer’s “stupid drug story of the week” comes courtesy of the Washington Post.

      This is an example of the deep, professional investigative reporting that they blow their own horn about while decrying that more and more people go elsewwhere for their news.

      The dead tree media and their over the air counterparts have, like the Big 2.5 and UAW, become fat, dumb and complacent.

      Into the dustbin of history with the lot of you.

    8. #8 |  ChrisD | 

      Here’s the original story that got these bacon renegades caught:

      It seems like the regulations cross the line from sensible restrictions to regulatory capture. It’s not like Rick Bayliss with his local organic food foundation would be purchasing cut-rate shoddy bacon to save a nickel.

    9. #9 |  J sub D | 

      #2 | Mattocracy –

      Hear hear!

    10. #10 |  Mattocracy | 

      I’ve always seen government control for the sake of safety as something that should be voluntary. Let’s say you own a restaurant and it doesn’t get it’s ingrediants inspected by the FDA or any other QC organization. Said restuarant should be free to do that and then deal with the bad rap they get in the news when everyone gets sick. And then their insurance premiums go up.

      The consumers should be driving the inspection agencies. If people want properly inspected food, private agencies and professional organizations could fill that role. “Eat at Joe’s. We are certified by Boyd Food Inspection and the Independent Restuarant Safety Association.” Something like that.

      I also think that private insurance companies could be the driving force behind appropriate regulations. You want an insurance policy with Mattocracy Insurance and Waffle Palace? We’re gonna inspect your grocery stores and diners to asses the risk. We give you a rating based on our inspection and then you can display it in your window. “Our establishment is proud to have a score of 99 out of a possible 100, as certified by the Boyd Inspection Group on behalf of Mattocracy Insurance and Premium Waffles.”

      And if people still get sick, then people can start using Dave Krueger Inspection and Insurance, LLC for third party quality control. Or be certified by the Holy Vatican Council of Food and Drugs.

      The market works.

    11. #11 |  ClassAction | 


      Thanks for the link to that story. I would encourage everyone to read it. E&P’s cured meats sound freaking delicious. Regulatory capture, no doubt. If I weren’t so cynical, I would say that it’s ironic that the Safety Inspection Mafia are trying to drive out extremely fresh, high quality alternatives to foodstuffs prepared in enormous, State-approved, butchering and curing facilities – but then, that’s the point, isn’t it?

    12. #12 |  la Rana | 

      No suprise really. Hons van Spakofsky der Vanderwasp’s normal mode is decrying all of the voter fraud…..that no one can seem to ever identify. But its dangerous! And bad! A threat to the democracy! never mind that its nonexistent.

    13. #13 |  Will Grigg | 

      Arpaio is a cult figure for those I refer to as the “punitive populist” segment of the public. It doesn’t matter how much taxpayer money is squandered in cleaning up the legal messes his office creates; or what damage he does to the rule of law by using harassment and intimidation tactics right out of the playbook of a Third World dictatorship; or how inept he is at actually tracking down and arresting legitimate criminal suspects.

      All that matters is that Joe’s kickin’ ass in trackin’ down them ILLEGALS, and as long as he’s standing tall against the Brown Peril, he can count on almost uniform support from the punitive populists:

      When those folks dumped me a few years ago it was because I insisted that we should be trying to defend the Bill of Rights, and they believed that a police state within “secure borders” would be a satisfactory arrangement. So I guess they display a certain tragic consistency in their support for the Mussolini of Maricopa County.

      The journal I used to write for just published a shameless Valentine to Arpaio; they’re man-crushing on him so h

    14. #14 |  Saint Zero | 

      I’m in the same boat. I’m Conservative (over republican), and can’t stand the love Arpaio gets in some more rightish blog sites. I see the same brain dead, law enforcement uber alles type thinking there.

      I could go on, but I agree with a lot of the sentiment here.

    15. #15 |  Aaron | 

      It seems like their fear of criminals and illegal aliens (mostly non-whites) over-rides every other consideration. So is it just racism? I honestly don’t think it is but I don’t understand it.

      Strictly speaking, it’s not racism, no. It is privileging their own in-group over a whole lot of other out-groups though. As long as Joe doesn’t affect them and theirs (and they’re gut certain he won’t, because they’re “not those kind of people”), they’ll remain all for it.

    16. #16 |  Aresen | 

      Hans A. von Spakovsky is proof that there is no correlation between literacy and decency.

    17. #17 |  Fluffy | 

      With that said, I do think that food inspection is a legitimate government role, as it allows problems such as contamination to be tracked back to the source.

      A law against selling meat that poisons someone makes a certain amount of sense.

      But “food inspection” laws make it illegal to sell meat that is perfectly safe, if it doesn’t have the correct stamp on it.

      I don’t see any possible basis in morality for making it illegal to sell someone perfectly good meat. Who are you protecting, and from what?

    18. #18 |  hf | 

      Mattocracy #10 – there could be a compromise position. It used to be in NC that they didn’t have pass/fail inspections, instead they issued a sign with a big “A”, “B”, or “C” that was posted next to the entrance. If you didn’t like the rating you could eat somewhere else. In practice, very few places operated with less than an “A”.

      To make it purely voluntary you could add a “Refused Inspection” category.

    19. #19 |  BamBam | 

      Copenhagen: what a shocker. A bunch of bureaucrats trying to further a lie so the march towards a global government continues. All the while they live high on the hog, riding in private planes and limos, eating caviar, drinking champagne, and yucking it up.

      Feel guilty for existing. Pay your existence tax. What a crock of shit.

    20. #20 |  James D | 

      Global Warming (man made) is a giant load of crap and FINALLY (thanks to some hackers) the ‘sheeple’ are starting to questions all the holes in it’s logic and science:

      I mean 100 Billion a year???

    21. #21 |  hamburglar007 | 


      As an example, something which has come up many times, consider food that is contaminated and distributed throughout the country. Contamination regardless of the circumstances. Currently, we can track the food back to the source, i.e. supermarkets, restaurants, etc, know that their food is bad and throw it out, minimizing the number of people who get sick. Without some of the regulation provided, it makes it much more difficult to do this. Aside from the public safety issue their is an economic downside to it as well.

      As far as food inspection services go, this is one area I don’t have a problem with the government monopolizing, so long as they can do it competently.

    22. #22 |  hamburglar007 | 

      Just to add to my post above, I do realize that this was the state running the inspection, which I do have a little more of a problem with.

    23. #23 |  Andrew Williams | 

      Even if global warming isn’t happening, doesn’t it just make sense to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and make better use of current and alternative forms of energy?

    24. #24 |  supercat | 

      //Why is it that “tough on crime” types care so much more about “tough” than they do about “crime?”//

      Or that so many “law and order” types fail to realize that police and other government agents who don’t follow the law (and that includes those who violate the Supreme Law of the Land) are enemies of lawful order. No government agent may legitimately violate the Constitution(*); action contrary to the Constitution is illegitimate. Further, illegitimate actions cannot and do not constitute any portion of a government agent’s duties.

      (*)Some government personnel have, through their illegitimate actions, created a situation in which compliance with different parts of the Constitution would require contradictory actions (e.g. because the government made promises it can’t keep). Government officials may thus be forced into actions which don’t 100% abide by the Constitution, but would nonetheless be the best way to resolve the situation the earlier officials created.

    25. #25 |  supercat | 

      //Even if global warming isn’t happening, doesn’t it just make sense to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and make better use of current and alternative forms of energy?//

      It does, but there’s an optimal speed for such technological development and pushing things faster than that will end up wasting resources. Essentially, it takes a certain amount of time to economically design something, build it, and test it. Trying to get it done faster will substantially increase the cost, and no matter how much one spends it will still take time. Each design/build/test cycle offers a chance for improvement. Pushing a product or technology out the door before it is sufficiently developed will cause resources to be spent on the construction (and possibly repair) of inferior products that might otherwise have been directed toward making superior ones.

      Further, global warming alarmists aren’t mostly pushing for sensible technological developments, but are rather pushing for:

      -1- Massive wealth transfers to third-world governments (i.e. the dictators who run them)

      -2- “Alternative energy” construction projects which far cost more per unit of energy produced than would conventional projects.

      It’s possible that a small alternative-energy project, even if the energy it produces isn’t worth its cost, will yield knowledge whose value makes up for the excess cost of production. That in no way implies that such projects should be scaled up; increasing the cost of a project a hundredfold does not imply a hundredfold increase in the value of the knowledge produced.

    26. #26 |  James D | 

      supercat is right … ‘Global Warming’ is just the latest excuse for a ‘world government’ where our money is STOLEN for who knows what REAL purpose. 30 years ago we were told we had only 5 years before an impending ice age and the US better ‘pay up’ … it’s just the latest excuse to steal money from us and take control.

      Now the US wants to label CO2 a toxin?! So every time I exhale I’m polluting? How can anyone looking at ACTUAL non-manufactured data be taking this stuff seriously? The slightest examination of the kind of charts that Al Gore uses in his presentations show that CO2 FOLLOWS warming, not CAUSES it!

      And the US is about to dedicate 100+ billion a year for this crap to say nothing about what this Cap and Trade (Tax) nonsense will do to our economy.

    27. #27 |  Mike | 

      Surprised nobody has pointed out the “In Gold Coin” verbage on many of the old forms of U.S. currency. I found that sadly ironic.

    28. #28 |  Windy | 

      Hillary and Obama should be tried and executed for treason against the Constitution and the American people for promising that 100 billion per year to a nonexistant problem, yeah, add fraud to the charge of treason.