Lunch Links

Monday, March 22nd, 2010
  • .…bankrupt America!
  • Sacramento man twice arrested and jailed in a case of mistaken identity, despite the fact that he’s four inches taller than the man police wanted, that he’s black and the other guy is white, and that they have different last names.
  • Another crime lab under review.
  • New study looks at disclosure rules and regulation of government-to-government lobbying. Surprise! Governments aren’t nearly as concerned with how they spend money (that is, your money) lobbying than they are with how people spend their own money lobbying.
  • Why, when I was a kid, just to get to school we had to . . . okay, you win.
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57 Responses to “Lunch Links”

  1. #1 |  Chuchundra | 

    SF/Fantasy writer George RR Martin discusses the importance of Health Care Reform

    http://grrm.livejournal.com/141683.html

  2. #2 |  ChrisD | 

    Why do I have the feeling that Barack’s latest “Yes We Can” tweet will be the “Mission Accomplished” of the next election and (hopefully not) beyond?

  3. #3 |  Dave Krueger | 

    From the zip wire article:

    Jamid is too young to safely ride the wire on his own, so she has to carry him with her in a jute bag, controlling their speed with a wooden fork.

    Holy shit. Is that jute bag, like, pretty strong? And what happens if you accidentally drop that fork thingy?

  4. #4 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Could it be that Barack Obama is our Mikhail Gorbachev?

  5. #5 |  flukebucket | 

    Palin / Bachmann 2012!

  6. #6 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Another crime lab under review.

    A crime lab being investigated by some ex-FBI guys? I wonder if those are the guys who were in charge back during the FBI crime lab scandal. If so, they might not recognize incompetence if it crawled up on their chair and pooped in their lap.

  7. #7 |  otto e mezzo | 

    threadjack:

    3 Officers Accused In Teen’s Beating Receive Police Awards:
    http://www.wpxi.com/news/22891042/detail.html

  8. #8 |  Zargon | 

    #3
    Holy shit. Is that jute bag, like, pretty strong? And what happens if you accidentally drop that fork thingy?

    I assume the answers to be yes and you’re very screwed.

    However, since they’re still living there, I’d also have to assume the rate of fatal accidents is very low, implying using the zip line is easier than it looks, so you might as well be asking what happens if you drive off the freeway and hit a tree.

    Pretty cool.

  9. #9 |  la Rana | 

    Are you interested in the fact that the overwhelming majority of the forseeable debt is due to Bush’s tax cuts, the recession, and the ongoing wars? I mean, the health care bill is a POS, but that doesn’t alone make Fox’s talking points accurate.

  10. #10 |  David | 

    Why, when I was a kid, just to get to school we had to . . . okay, you win.

    I wish I got to go school, or anywhere else by zip-line. So much so that I would even vote yes on publicly financed NY to DC series of zip-lines to replace Amtrak.

  11. #11 |  Dave Krueger | 

    .…bankrupt America!

    Don’t be silly. I heard that the health care bill will lower the deficit more than any other program in U.S. history. In fact, I’m thinking we could probably wipe out the deficit just by passing similar programs in other areas. We could have a Universal Healthy Housing bill, a Universal Healthy bill, and a Universal Healthy Transportation bill. Add up all those savings and next thing you know, government is free and taxes are abolished. The future never looked brighter for future generations who will no longer be saddled with paying the tab for today’s government spending.

    Three cheers for Obama!

  12. #12 |  claude | 

    “Sacramento man twice arrested and jailed in a case of mistaken identity…..”

    Well yeah. Cops are idiots.

  13. #13 |  Bob | 

    “Jamid is too young to safely ride the wire on his own, so she has to carry hm with her in a jute bag”

    That’s a LOT safer!

    But… I gotta wonder… how do they get home? Rocket assisted Zip Wheel?

  14. #14 |  Jeff W | 

    la Rana, you’re wrong. The Bush tax cuts, when you count in the boost to gdp, only cost about $25-$50 Billion per year, and will expire very soon, meaning that their long term structure addition to the debt is zero. And the ongoing wars are $100-$200 Billion per year, but again, it’s not structural. At some point we’ll be out. And a temporary recession, by definition, has nothing to do with structural deficits.

    No, we have a structural deficit of about $1 Trillion per year for the rest of time, and it’s entirely due to unfunded entitlement programs. Those are costs we can never be rid of, because if you ever try to repeal one then you just want to kill poor grannies.

    When Moody’s announced in March that the US will likely lose its AAA bond rating in the next few years, they didn’t talk about the wars or tax cuts or the recession. They talked about the longterm structural deficit, and how it’s climbing to the point when they are required by their own rules to drop the US.

  15. #15 |  Saint Zero | 

    Amazing how many people can’t do math anymore. The democrats have done nothing except bankrupt america.

    On the other hand, Drudge continues to prove he is the master of great headline writing.

  16. #16 |  Peter Ramins | 

    RE: the Obama twitter and your comment, Radley –

    Let me ask you – if you went back in time one week… one month… one year… and America asked you for a loan, would you give it / recommend it to family/friends?

    Your comment should have been something like “Bankruptier America!”

  17. #17 |  Jay | 

    @la Rana: Regardless of who’s to blame for the current state of our economic crisis…it’s tough to argue that we should go ahead and spend more money on what’s all but guaranteed to be a new bloated bureaucracy. Both sides do it, but the ignoring of the old adage “two wrongs don’t make a right” is getting extremely old.

  18. #18 |  Andrew S. | 

    More fun with police officers and their t-shirts condoning brutality:

    http://www.clickorlando.com/news/22858739/detail.html

  19. #19 |  Zargon | 

    #16
    Your comment should have been something like “Bankruptier America!”

    Well, if we want to get nitpicky, “bankrupt” isn’t the right word, because I’ve no doubt that at some point in the future, the US will pay back all the dollars they owe to all parties.

    The catch being, of course, that dollars won’t be worth the paper they’re printed on at that point. All this does is make that “some point in the future” somewhat less distant.

  20. #20 |  ARCraig | 

    Off-topic, but when/where can we see videos from the Liberty Forum? Was your presentation recorded, Radley?

  21. #21 |  Judi | 

    http://www2.journalnow.com/content/2010/mar/05/cooper-orders-review-sbi-crime-lab/

    Yep, it’s contagious!

  22. #22 |  Ahcuah | 

    Bob at #13:

    But… I gotta wonder… how do they get home? Rocket assisted Zip Wheel?

    Maybe it’s downhill both ways?

  23. #23 |  Les | 

    Here’s a video of the zip line kids.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIxH2i_ctso

  24. #24 |  Peter Ramins | 

    @ #19 –

    Right, I’ve said for years that the treasury department should just print a trillion dollar bill and mail it (insured, even!) to China with a note attached that says “Ok we’re square now, ttyl!”

    But you’re referring to the coming time when a loaf of bread requires a wheelbarrow full of money to buy and the storekeeper immediately throws that cash onto the firepit burning in the center of the store to keep himself warm.

    So how is that not bankruptcy all the same?

  25. #25 |  Mattocracy | 

    Its a sad day when progressives think that corporate bailouts is good policy. If this was McCainCare, they would be screaming bloody murder. I believe wholehearted that liberals know deep down inside that this health care bill is bullshit, they just don’t want to admit that they made a mistake voting for their guy. They are hauling ass down the same road that conservatives did to disaster. This is going to be their war in Iraq.

  26. #26 |  Mattocracy | 

    “Why do I have the feeling that Barack’s latest “Yes We Can” tweet will be the “Mission Accomplished” of the next election and (hopefully not) beyond?”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  27. #27 |  Amiable Dorsai | 

    “Maybe it’s downhill both ways?”

    Yep. Check the video Les posted. There are two lines; you carry the pulley up from the terminus of one to the departure point of the other.

  28. #28 |  J sub D | 

    Why do I have the feeling that Barack’s latest “Yes We Can” tweet will be the “Mission Accomplished” of the next election and (hopefully not) beyond?

    A more honest tweet would have been “Because We Can”.

  29. #29 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @ #9 LaRana

    Are you interested in the fact that the overwhelming majority of the forseeable debt is due to Bush’s tax cuts, the recession, and the ongoing wars? I mean, the health care bill is a POS, but that doesn’t alone make Fox’s talking points accurate.

    About as interested as you are in knowing what you’re talking about I guess.

    LaRana loses with “Don’t blame me. I voted for Kodos.”

  30. #30 |  Zargon | 

    @ #24

    I was nitpicking. We (we, not the government) will be screwed when the US dollar falls into hyperinflation due to US debt, but the US government won’t be bankrupt. Bankruptcy is a state where you have debts you cannot repay. Thus, since all debt of the US government is denominated in US dollars and the US government is allowed to wish US dollars into existence whenever they want, it’s not possible for them to ever be bankrupt in the traditional sense, since they can literally wish their way out of any and all debt, whenever they please.

  31. #31 |  J sub D | 

    I’m soooooo embarrased. I clicked the wrong button on #23 | Les. Mentally add +2 to his score.

  32. #32 |  la Rana | 

    Jeff – do you not notice how every single point you made depends on an unquestioned (and in every instance wrong) assumption? “Boost to GDP”??? ha! we’re really rolling in it now! and then you later deny that GDP has anything to do with it. I mean, jesus man, pay attention.

    This is real easy. Money comes in. Money goes out. You can read from that handy heritage foundation pamphlet all day long, but it an’t gonna tell ya anything useful.

  33. #33 |  Eric Hanneken | 

    Neither George W. Bush nor the Republican congress helped the deficit, although it’s odd to blame only tax cuts when their spending was so prodigal (see here for some good graphs).

    Having said that, Jeff W is right that the federal government’s largest fiscal problems are its entitlement programs. Don’t take my word for it. Ask the free-market fundamentalists at the U.S. Government Accountability Office:

    If the Government is to retain the ability to manage a financial crisis such as the one today [2008], it must eventually address the long-term fiscal imbalance resulting from Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. The Government’s fiscal policies for these programs as currently structured are not sustainable. Without
    changes, spending for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would permanently and dramatically increase the Government’s budget deficit and debt, leading eventually to renewed financial and economic instability.

    Also see the graph here, and the USA Today article, “Taxpayers on the hook for $59 trillion,” which points out that Social Security’s and Medicare’s unfunded promises aren’t counted in the usual debt and deficit numbers.

    The White House and the Congressional Budget Office oppose the change [to standard accounting rules], arguing that the programs are not true liabilities because government can cancel or cut them.

    Got that? When the government sends out statements detailing your entitled future benefits under Social Security, that shouldn’t count as a liability on its books because, after all, they can just not pay you when the time comes.

  34. #34 |  Jeff W | 

    la Rana, it doesn’t matter. Even if the tax cuts didn’t boost the GDP one iota (and you won’t find an economist on the planet that would agree with you), tax cuts do not add to structural deficits. The tax cuts expire, after which we will STILL have trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.

    Few economists care about temporary deficits during a recession or because of a war or a temporary set of tax cuts. It’s the longterm structural deficits due to entitlements that millions of Americans are dependent upon and will fight to the death to protect that are the problem.

  35. #35 |  Jeff W | 

    And by the way, I love how anybody who criticizes the deficit must be a card-carrying Republican who only watches Fox News and only visits the Heritage Foundation.

    Economics are not partisan. The facts are what they are. The fact that Bush was a bad President doesn’t excuse Obama being an even worse President.

  36. #36 |  la Rana | 

    One more time, really slow: money comes in. money goes out. When more goes out than comes in, you must borrow money. entitlement programs go out. military expenditures go out. tax cuts reduce what comes in. recessions decrease what comes in.

    “criticizing the deficit” is not the issue. obscuring the reason why there aint enough money in the piggy bank is the province of dems when a repubs in office, and the provence of repucs when a dem is in office. You are playing the fool in the latter formulation. You can argue about the tax cuts and the estimated deficit in 30 years until you are blue in the face, but the fact of teh matter is we don’t have enough money to pay the bills, we don’t expect to any time soon, this fact has been excacerbated exponentially in recent years, and certain things are more responsible for that than others.

    I begrudge no man his scam, so by all means come up with some more arguments from authority to rationalize only caring about the 30th year of being essentially bankrupt, ignoring the previous 29, and specious nonsense to justify decreasing government income and transferring more societal wealth to the top .5% of the income bracket, but addition and subtraction is really easy. Even you can do it. I assure you.

  37. #37 |  antimeria - a complete impediment to understanding | 

    [...] The Agitator is responsible for my nightmares. [...]

  38. #38 |  TC | 

    The USSR no longer exists because…………..

    It went broke!!!

    *************

    Tax cuts did not cause anything! The gotdaaumed congress critters that spend like the drunken sailors they are would be much closer to the truth!

    When you aint got money,,,,,,,,,, Quit freakin spending it!!!!

  39. #39 |  Jeff W | 

    One more time, really slow. If you can’t understand these basic concepts then I suggest you come back to us after you’ve taken high school economics:

    Temporary tax cuts != longterm structural deficit.

    The “Bush tax cuts” expire soon. Wars have a finite length. At any point we can choose to bring our troops home, and at any time we can choose not to extend tax cuts beyond the horizon they were original set for. Those are not set in stone for eternity

    A longterm structural deficit is something else: it is money that the government MUST pay as long as this country exists. The government cannot just choose to end social security tomorrow, or medicare tomorrow, or any other of these entitlement programs. People have spent their lives paying into the system, and to not pay out would not only require destroying the lives of millions of Americans, it would also require the United States to default on debt, which it has never done and which would be an apocalyptic scenario for the world’s economies. We have well over $50 Trillion promised just to people currently living, and that number will only get larger with time.

    Economists, and those who set interest rates, do not care about temporary recessions when looking at longterm forecasts. Every economy will have recessions, and it’s normal to expect government to deficit spend during recessions. It’s the longterm structural deficits that matter.

    And I’m sorry if that used complicated economic terms that you don’t understand. Again, get back to us when you’ve completed high school.

  40. #40 |  Michaelk42 | 

    Puppycide jack:

    http://www.theindychannel.com/news/22910822/detail.html

    Deputy Charged In Dog Attack Charged With 4 Misdemeanors

    Deputy’s adopted pit bull mixes attack another man and shot (1 killed, 1 put down later) by cops…

    Ironically, one of the few times we hear of cops shooting dogs that are actually attacking, the dogs are owned by another cop.

    I only really feel bad for the dogs though.

  41. #41 |  tb | 

    Jeff W,

    it is money that the government MUST pay as long as this country exists

    Nope. It’s money the government will continue to pay as long as it is able. When the money tree dies, so will SS.

    The government cannot just choose to end social security tomorrow, or medicare tomorrow, or any other of these entitlement programs.

    Yes, it can. And it will eventually come to that.

    I get the whole definitional difference between structural and temporary deficits. Yes, tax cuts, wars, and depressions are temporary and the deficits they cause are temporary (regardless of size).

    But so are entitlement programs! The US has promised to pay $X over the 75-year horizon and that number is a shitton of money. But it’s not set in stone. Benefits can be reduced (and they will), FICA taxes can be raised (and they will), and programs can altogether be cut (and they eventually will, whether explicitly done by law or implicitly done by societal collapse). There is currently no political will to do so, but then again, we can still sell our bonds overseas. When there becomes no one willing and able to finance our deficit spending, POOF! goes the SS, Medicare, and a host of other programs. There simply won’t be any money to sustain them.

    And this pile of shit passed yesterday only hastens the day when this happens.

    People have spent their lives paying into the system, and to not pay out would not only require destroying the lives of millions of Americans

    Yep, and this is going to suck for a lot of people. Plan not to be one.

  42. #42 |  John Jenkins | 

    Can we get a wrist strap on that fork-thing? I bet the landing is a bitch without it.

  43. #43 |  bbartlog | 

    ‘Nope. It’s money the government will continue to pay as long as it is able. When the money tree dies, so will SS.’

    Ah. And did you notice that the government is *already* printing money? There is no ‘unable to pay’ for the US. The Federal Reserve takes money from the US Treasury, and then uses it to buy the debt issued by the federal government. Of course this leads to inflation, but the money tree never dies, it just sprouts some new zeroes once in a while…

  44. #44 |  Curt | 

    YES WE CAN….

    Defy the overwhelming will of the country while still claiming that an election gives us a mandate to pursue our agenda…

    even though we can’t even get our entire party to sign off on that agenda, let alone a single republican

  45. #45 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    only caring about the 30th year of being essentially bankrupt, ignoring the previous 29

    So many errors. 30 years doesn’t go back nearly far enough to reach the beginning point of where I personally cared (or where I put the blame). Congrats on railing against those who only look at the past 12 months. There must be a couple people in the world who do that…and you’ve really got ‘em.

  46. #46 |  la Rana | 

    ooooohhh, I see how it works now. When you label certain things a certain way, then the money you spend on them and the corresponding debt doesn’t matter, but when you call it “structural deficits,” well, then, better build a bomb shelter. Its set in the stone of current budgetary estimates! its like completely different and stuff from our permanent occupation of half the world and the exact same checks we right for everything else! Its undeniable! we called it structural! You know what I just realized? Over the next millenia we promised people a gagillion dollars in stuff! If we make just the right assumptions this will be a catastrophe!!

    This is rather hilarious. You are a text book example of someone who cannot think outside of the box of his own talking points. Repeat it again, I didn’t quite make out the same phrases and references to authorities that time. temporary, long term, structural…its all so complicated!!

  47. #47 |  Frank | 

    #36 It could be worse. I hear that the 2014 Winter Olympics may not be in Russia. Seems that the group is bankrupt, the workers haven’t been paid since November, the roads haven’t been improved, and the IOC is investigating.

    Word is that we may be having a Canadian repeat.

  48. #48 |  Stephen | 

    I saw that zip line thing on TV a couple of yrs ago and thought it was pretty crazy. They had multiple lines so they did not have to go up the same line they came down. They used gravity both ways. The energy came from walking up the mountain to a point higher than the end point on the other side both ways. Still very impressive. I am actually crazy enough that I want to try it sometime. :)

  49. #49 |  Stephen | 

    “I’m soooooo embarrased. I clicked the wrong button on #23 | Les. Mentally add +2 to his score.”

    Just restart your router twice and you can correct it. :)

  50. #50 |  Jeff W | 

    la Rana, it’s quite simple. I’m not making these terms up, they’re all standard definitions. You can try going into a bank and saying that you have $1 million in assets while asking for a loan, and then when they do the research and say you actually have $1 million in debt you can scream about how stupid they are and how you define “assets” as “money I owe people”, but then they’ll just look at you as the moron that you are.

    A “structural deficit” is a standard economic concept. There’s even a short Wiki article! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_deficit Knock yourself out. But until you learn basic economics, don’t make a fool of yourself by pretending you know something about a concept that you plainly know absolutely nothing about.

  51. #51 |  Dannyp19 | 

    La Rana, you might want to try this site. http://mises.org/

    I would start with “Human Action”, and “Road to Serfdom” is also a good read. The beauty part is you can download the PDF files for free and read them if your that cheap. You will need a dictionary, considering your reading level is what 6th., 7th. grade?

    Oh…if you prefer cartoons theres this. http://mises.org/books/TRTS/

  52. #52 |  la Rana | 

    Dude – my point is that you are simply parroting these words around without paying any attention to what they mean, on the ostensible belief that a descriptive term is definitive and foreswears any actual analysis (which is ironic, since you are the one pretending to understand econ). So you respond that other people also use those words. Awesome. And completely. missing. the. point.

  53. #53 |  PW | 

    Here’s a great “professional courtesy” story for ya! A police chief got doped up on prescription painkillers, drove his city-owned vehicle to a topless bar, proceeded to consume at least 11 alcoholic beverages there, tried to drive home, wrecked his car, and the assistant chief stepped in to cover up the investigation.

    http://cbs2.com/local/russ.leach.riverside.2.1559145.html

  54. #54 |  Rogier | 

    “Sacramento man twice arrested and jailed in a case of mistaken identity, despite the fact that he’s four inches taller than the man police wanted, that he’s black and the other guy is white, and that they have different last names.”

    Tuttle… Buttle… What’s the diff?

  55. #55 |  americanadian | 

    Yep. It’s the ruination of the world..oooohhhh. Healthcare for all. Another round of healthcare for my friends..even the Republican one’s. Obama is going to ruin us. Nothing to do with Bush & his stupid misdirectedl wars & stupid tax breaks. Health care gonna ruin us, everyone has care at the emergency room.
    Best care in the world. Phffffft!!

  56. #56 |  Peter Ramins | 

    Americanadian, you’ll be hardpressed to find anyone on this site (and that certainly includes the owner/author) who would defend Bush’s fiscal policies or what he spent money on.

    That doesn’t change the fact that your children just inherited another massive debt and another unfunded mandate.

    So I’m sorry that the news of fiscal irresponsibility Radley is talking about is… you know, current. Wait, no, not sorry.

  57. #57 |  americanadian | 

    PR, the money is already spent whether you have Obamacare or not. If Obamacare works as proposed it should lower health care costs. Allowing people to get cut off of insurance coverage because of “pre existing conditions”, allowing insurance companies to jack up rates even with record profits & thinking emergency care for a large part of the population is a plan is criminal.
    Why do all countries with socialized coverage have higher life expectancies than this country? By the way, not my children. I’ll retire to Canada after making my millions here.

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