Morning Links

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010
  • FBI illegally collected thousands of phone calls between 2002 and 2006.
  • He has a point.
  • Fascinating article on the stray dogs of Moscow.
  • Another series of photos of abandoned buildings. I love the genre, but I think going forward, if you’re going to put a photo essay like this together, you should be required to omit any buildings in Detroit. Too easy.
  • Virginia GOP delegate introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana. Doesn’t have a chance in hell of passing, but it’s a start.
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  • 35 Responses to “Morning Links”

    1. #1 |  Ross | 

      The photographer of the abandoned buildings, Camilo Jose Vergara, actually has published some books of photos of abandoned buildings. I know my dad has one, and it does feature a bunch from Detroit. To be fair, Detroit is sort of a goldmine, at least with respect to abandoned buildings.

    2. #2 |  MG | 

      Odd, if the VA bill passes, it may make VA the most libertarian state on the East Coast. That’s not saying much, but it would still be light years ahead of the rest of the Mid-Atlantic. Not to mention a state decriminalizing right next to DC. Then the feds would have no excuse.

    3. #3 |  Sean L. | 

      Also, to me the most fascinating thing about abandoned buildings is what you see on the inside. (It’s not terribly difficult to do a drive-by photo.) Whenever I see images of books or items laying around a room I can’t help but wonder what the very last person was thinking when they left those things.

    4. #4 |  rob | 

      here’s a website dedicated to urban decay in philadelphia: http://ruins.wordpress.com/

    5. #5 |  Cynical in CA | 

      “if you’re going to put a photo essay like this together, you should be required to omit any buildings in Detroit. Too easy.”

      Slightly tangential, but there’s a very amusing site that analyzes white people from a cultural anthropology POV called “Stuff White People Like,” and the gent who administrates it does not allow citations from the NY Times anymore for the same reason — it’s just too easy.

      BTW, white people like The Agitator. White people like being righteously indignant. I should know. I am a white person.

    6. #6 |  Cynical in CA | 

      “Virginia GOP delegate introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana. Doesn’t have a chance in hell of passing, but it’s a start.”

      What better sums up 21st Century Amerika than the fact that George Washington — the man primarily responsible for the founding of the nation, after whom the nation’s capital is named, and whose name is synonymous with the power structure of the government — today would be a criminal for growing the same plants on Mt. Vernon that he grew in the 18th Century?

      The irony is delicious.

      I think Virginia would be crazy not to decriminalize marijuana. I’ve got their state slogan all ready to go: “Virginia is for Pot Lovers.” Could have a pic of Washington with a spleef in his mouth. No charge.

    7. #7 |  Aresen | 

      “White people like being righteously indignant.

      I believe that is a near-universal human condition.

    8. #8 |  Dante | 

      “Virginia GOP delegate introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana. Doesn’t have a chance in hell of passing, but it’s a start.”

      Not so fast! I went to the link and voted, and I suggest all of you do the same. Based upon what I saw, the large majority of voters want decrminalization.

      New State Motto Contest:

      Virginia is for Stoners!

    9. #9 |  Cynical in CA | 

      Horning in on my territory, eh Dante?

      Aaah, I +1ed you anyway. Nice work.

    10. #10 |  the system worked | 

      You know you’ve been in D.C. too lonng when you start using the phrase “going forward.”

    11. #11 |  Dave Krueger | 

      I can’t wait to hear the broad national coverage of the FBI illegally collecting phone records. After all, this is precisely the reason the mainstream media contends it’s so much more important than mere bloggers. Surely they will report this on every nightly news cast as well as the front page of every new site. But, I’m not holding my breath.

      Of course, with no down side (ever), there’s no incentive for law enforcement to change their operating procedures one iota. The common tactic now used whenever any government agency gets caught with it’s pants down, is to claim that the problem has been fixed and will not happen again, so there’s no need to discuss it.

      As for the communications companies cooperating with the government, I think it’s despicable, but not nearly as despicable as it is for the government to have put them in the position of having to choose whether to fight the information requests (and possibly be declared unpatriotic or even be blamed for the next attack) or cave in and go along (since the government has the power to make their lives really miserable if they don’t).

      It never ceases to amaze me how all this shit happens and no one high up in the food chain knew about it. I believe that like I believe that a chief of police doesn’t know about the corruption in his own department.

      I always get a kick out of it when someone says it’s the government’s job to protect our rights. To the government, rights, are nothing more than an annoying obstacles in the road to cleaning out our pockets and controlling our lives.

    12. #12 |  arglebargle | 

      It was only a ‘technical’ violation of the law, and they were probably not aware they were breaking the law.

      This.. coming from the FBI?

      Sometimes I think I’d really love to sit down and have a beer with some of these people and ask them if they realize how hypocritical they are.

    13. #13 |  Marty | 

      I bet over half of the illegal phone surveillances was monitoring ex spouses…

    14. #14 |  Aresen | 

      Sometimes I think I’d really love to sit down and have a beer with some of these people and ask them if they realize how hypocritical they are

      No you wouldn’t:

      You’d probably find out that you had ‘technically’ violated several laws and wind up doing several years in prision.

      The FBI agents, of course, would be put on administrative leave.

      with full pay, naturally.

    15. #15 |  Steamed McQueen | 

      Great article about the dogs in Moscow. I’ve seen them riding the metro and hanging around. Rarely do they attack humans.

      Virtually every place in Moscow that sells any type of food, be it a cafe’, restaurant, or just a sidewalk kiosk has a stray dog in residence.

      Except for the Chinese restaurants. One never sees any stray dogs or cats hanging around there…

    16. #16 |  Aresen | 

      Dave Krueger | January 19th, 2010 at 1:36 pm

      I can’t wait to hear the broad national coverage of the FBI illegally collecting phone records. After all, this is precisely the reason the mainstream media contends it’s so much more important than mere bloggers. Surely they will report this on every nightly news cast as well as the front page of every new site.

      Dave, you keep overloading my sarcasm meter. That’s the tenth time in the shop in the past six months.

    17. #17 |  MacGregory | 

      #11 arglebargle

      What Aresen said.
      After having said beer, your initial charge would be “public intoxication.” You, of course, being so drunk, can’t recall giving that “consent to search.” You did. A cop said so, it must be true. Now that they have found those pictures of your naked 2 year old (now 30 year old) in a bathtub, you’re going away for a long time. Fucking kiddie diddler. I saw your pic in the newspaper. Fair trial? You’ll get one in prison.

      And all this could have been avoided if you hadn’t questioned their authority while banging a beer stein with them.

    18. #18 |  Guido | 

      “Virginia GOP delegate introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana. Doesn’t have a chance in hell of passing, but it’s a start.”

      GOP delegate? He must be reading the polls because last time I checked, according to the GOP, marijuana is the devil’s drug.

    19. #19 |  Eric | 

      When I was in Greece, I was struck by the number of stray dogs there. One afternoon we took a bus from our hotel into the town center, and almost immediately after stepping off, a dog adopted us. He followed us around the whole day. When we went into stores (and we went into lots of them; we were just wandering around), he laid down in front and waited patiently until we came out. He then followed us to the next place, and the next place, and so on. At our last stop we bought some food and got an extra item for him. I guess he knew all along that we were suckers.

      As we waited for the bus to head back to our hotel, we said our goodbyes. I expected him to sit around pining for us but as soon as we stepped on the bus he was gone. On to the next meal ticket, no doubt.

      He was a good dog.

    20. #20 |  Aresen | 

      @ Eric 2:53 PM

      Humans are SO easy to train. Their “tribe instincts” kick in and they automatically share with the “beta chimp” that has followed them.

      ;)

    21. #21 |  Aresen | 

      Guido | January 19th, 2010 at 2:51 pm
      “Virginia GOP delegate introduces bill to decriminalize marijuana. Doesn’t have a chance in hell of passing, but it’s a start.”

      GOP delegate? He must be reading the polls because last time I checked, according to the GOP, marijuana is the devil’s drug.

      Haitians aren’t the only people who can “make a deal with the Devil.”

    22. #22 |  Tsu Dho Nihm | 

      So, when are these FBI people going to be charged with crimes? It’s going to be within the next day or so, right?

    23. #23 |  scott | 

      Regarding the FBI wiretapping story:

      Bureau officials said agents were working quickly under the stress of trying to thwart the next terrorist attack and were not violating the law deliberately.

      That’s going to be my exact defense if ever charges are brought against me: the possibility of the next terrorist attack took precedence over all other concerns, and I never intended to violate the law deliberately.

      That should work brilliantly for me as a “civilian”.

    24. #24 |  TomMil | 

      Wait, wait, wait i got the BEST new slogan for Virginia,

      Virginia is for…….ah shit, I forgot. Hehehehe

    25. #25 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

      Where’s the damn updated SCOTUS Melendez-Diaz decision?
      Scalia wasn’t giving in. Sotomayor seemed nonplussed.
      WHat happened?

    26. #26 |  Andrew S. | 

      Bit of follow-up on the “8 year old on the TSA’s No-Fly List” story.

      Bob Burns over at the TSA’s blog made a general “We did nothing wrong, there are no 8 year olds on the no-fly list, these are not the droids you’re looking for” post here:http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2010/01/there-are-no-children-on-no-fly-or.html

      The mother of the boy who the TSA says is not on the no-fly list (even though he is) had a wonderfully succinct response to him:

      Dear Mr. Burns,

      I am Mikey Hicks’s mother, the little boy featured in the news media reports this past week. The one the TSA states in “not on a list”.

      Instead of reaching out to our family, you chose to belittle the process by stating:

      “It’s inevitable that every several months or so, some cute kid gets their mug posted on a major news publication with a headline reading something like: “Does this look like a terrorist to you?” Anything involving kids or cats gets tons of mileage and everybody starts tweeting and retweeting that there’s an 8 year old on the no fly list.” Would it have made a difference if we had an ugly kid compared to a “cute kid”?

      It would have been far more helpful had he reached out to our family and help us formulate a solution than belittle the effort.

      I am insulted and appalled that a representative from the TSA would chose to make such a juvenile and insulting statement. You could have easily left the above quote off and just shared the Redress process with everyone.

      It has been made quite clear to our family from both Continental and US Airlines that our son is clearly on a TSA list and they have absolutely no power in which to remove him.

      If you think it’s far more helpful to belittle the process rather than just giving people the information they need, then I think the TSA has far more serious issues than any of us imagine.

      I look forward to getting our son off a list he’s supposedly not on.

      Sincerely,

      Najlah Hicks

      —-

      Save for one “Do whatever you want, Mr. Government man, sir, just keep me safe!” post, the comments are overwhelmingly in favor of Ms. Hicks.

    27. #27 |  Aresen | 

      Andrew S:

      Is Bob Burns related to Montgomery Burns?

    28. #28 |  BamBam | 

      http://www.daytondailynews.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/dayton/daytoncrime/entries/2010/01/19/miami_twp_officer_charged_in_a.html

      Cop assaults handcuffed man, is on paid leave for 5 months now while an investigation is conducted as they try to figure out a good lie ahhemmm cough cough I mean while they investigate. Once again, the fox guarding the hen house.

    29. #29 |  Frank | 

      @26 You should read what they are saying on FlyerTalk about Blogdad Bob.

    30. #30 |  Frank | 

      @27 He’s more like Frank Burns.

    31. #31 |  Frank | 

      eBay removed both the Rush Limbaugh voodoo doll and the Pat Robertson voodoo doll, proceeds were to go to the Red Cross for Haiti relief.

    32. #32 |  MacGregory | 

      Too bad the proceeds from all the douches on the market, modeled after them, don’t go to the relief effort.

    33. #33 |  Nick T | 

      That is really bad that the FBI illegally collected all of that information. But I can rest assured that as we are a nation of laws, government law-breaking will always be met by a thorough investigation and a proper administering of justice.

    34. #34 |  Oatwhore | 

      I would go broke living in Moscow. First, because it’s expensive as hell to live there. Second, because I’d be feeding every damned stray I came across (if they were nice). Soon, I’d carry around a cooler filled with ground beef everywhere I went. I would not be able to stop myself.

    35. #35 |  PE Circenses | 

      As a Michigander, I second the motion to leave our abandoned buildings out of photo essays. Those are our pride and joy and – next to taxes – the only growth we see in our state.

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