Morning Links

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010
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55 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Staged Fight: Officer still gets mysterious back injury and draws taser.

  2. #2 |  SJE | 

    Kindle textbooks: just when you thought Govt could not get any more stupid….

    The extra stupid thing is that having the text in Kindle form is a first step to making the book easier for the blind, because it can readily be converted to speech.

  3. #3 |  JS | 

    Textbooks are the biggest racket in the world. They rearrange a few pages and then come out with a whole new book so students can’t sell their textbook to students taking the same class after them. Somewhere behind that story I bet there’s a humongous bookstore chain lobbying to keep the gravy train going.

  4. #4 |  Marty | 

    somehow I don’t think the kindle fight is over… amazon has fought through bureaucracy as well as any company.

  5. #5 |  Jozef | 

    The death of a phone call article is way premature. I see my number of phone calls increasing. I must admit, though, that the number of letters I send is on a decline; communication via letters may very well soon be on life support…

  6. #6 |  Kristen | 

    Is there any possibility of links popping in new windows? After the Slate article took forever to load, I could not simply hit the back button to get back here. I hate that shit.

  7. #7 |  Mattocracy | 

    It’d be nice if Bloomberg would extend his belief in private ownership and government restraint when it comes to everything he wants to prohibit.

  8. #8 |  Mattocracy | 

    There really needs to be a Team America II that soley focuses on Chaves and Sean Penn.

  9. #9 |  Andrew S. | 

    @JS: It’s the professors, not the bookstores.

    Worked in the bookstore for two years in college (mind you, this was over a decade ago, back before we had any online competition). It was part of a very large college bookstore chain (parent company was Barnes & Noble). We wanted to buy books back and re-sell them the next semester. Not only was it good for keeping people coming back, but we had a higher profit margin on the used books than we did on the new books.

    There was more than one time where I’d plead with a professor to stay with the old edition, saying that the new edition wasn’t worth it, would cost more, and students would be frustrated because they couldn’t buy used books. They never listened.

    The professors get the free books from the publishers, they have the publishers in their ears talking about how great the new edition is, and poof: “We need the new edition!”

    (and don’t get me started on the times we couldn’t buy books back because the professor waited until the day before classes started to give us their book orders (and then complained when we didn’t have them in yet when class started)).

  10. #10 |  Kerade | 

    #6 @Kristen – I right click on the link and select “open in new window” or “open in new tab”. Then close the window or tab when I am done. Works for me in Chrome, Firefox, and IE.

  11. #11 |  JS | 

    Yea I’m not surprised. All students know is that its a racket. I do without them when I can. I was supposed to spend $150 for one biology book a few semesters ago. Fortunately you can get away with that in a lot of classes.

  12. #12 |  qwints | 

    On the Kindle, it may be possible that the National Federation of the Blind is trying to raise awareness of accessibility issues and wants Amazon to make it accessible. There’s no good reason for the Kindle not to be accessible – it already has text-to-speech functionality – developing a menu system wouldn’t take much. The problem is their means. Rather than make clear to Amazon the market that awaits them if they developed an accessible Kindle, they are seeking to use government power to force Amazon to change the Kindle. Such actions stifle innovation.

  13. #13 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Re the staged fight: “Their [the police’s] job is to protect and serve, and even though they have families and children, that they don’t put any regard to their safety.”

    Um, no. There’s a huge difference between “cops should be level-headed and adept at defusing rather than escalating situations” (which I believe) and “cops shouldn’t have ANY regard for their safety” (which is ludicrous). And of course it’s stupid actions and comments such as these that further encourage cops to have an us-vs.-them attitude.

    Remarkably stupid on so many levels…

  14. #14 |  Nando | 

    From the Kindle Article:

    The Civil Rights Division informed the schools they were under investigation. In subsequent talks, the Justice Department demanded the universities stop distributing the Kindle; if blind students couldn’t use the device, then nobody could.

    Then I guess nobody should be driving cars, using iPhones, playing video games, or running the 400M with hurdles since blind people can’t do any of those, either.

  15. #15 |  Kristen | 

    Kerade – wish I could remeber to do that every time! It would save me wanting to smash my mouse to pieces.

  16. #16 |  Dave W. | 

    I don’t know if it is wise to take the “fake fisticuffs” story at face value. They say the policeman was thrown down, but have not named or arrested anybody for throwing down the policeman. Instead (at least as of a couple hours ago), they are trying to figure out if somebody can be charged. HOWEVER, if a policeman was truly thrown down, there should be no puzzlement. It might be unclear who could be arrested other than people who threw the policeman down, but it would be clear who was facing felony charges, and that person would have been arrested already.

    Of course, if the police p.r. department did make up the part about the policeman being thrown down, then one might also be inclined to wonder about their account of fake fisticuffs. Is it possible that a verbal argument was staged and that the “fisticuffs” is an exaggeration. That would seem to matter a lot here.

    Then there was the police spokeperson who made the comment about the investigators needing to look at this “from all angles.” As fellow [i]Agitatortotskies[/i] must realize, this is code for: “we are concerned that there is video out there we haven’t seen.” Staging a fake argument is a stupid way to make a point — unless you have good video and are chasing big game — then it becomes brilliant. That is not necessarily the case here, but I am in wait and see mode.

  17. #17 |  Laura Victoria | 

    On the police accountability front, I have a desperate Bleg. Does anyone know a department in the US that is doing lots of things right on the stuff we all agree on here. Accountability, transparency, punishment of criminal acts by cops at least eqully to civies; puppycide, brutality, etc.

    I’d like to write a piece with solutions to the problems that plague most agencies, including how to get those solutions put into law/practice. For example, I doubt much can happen with a police union in force. In CO my understanding is that the right to unionize for cops and other first responders is in the constitution, and would need to be changed via the legislature or voter initiative.

    Gracias!

  18. #18 |  Mark R. | 

    @Andrew S.

    Damn, how have people not figure out this scam?

    The professors write the textbooks. The only way they can ensure that people are buying their textbooks and generating revenue is by moving to the new edition. If you had a monopoly on education enforced by massive barriers to entry, you would do the same thing.

  19. #19 |  Cyto | 

    For qwints; From the article:

    One obvious solution to the problem, of course, was to fix the Kindle. Early on, Amazon told federation officials it would apply text-to-speech technology to the Kindle’s menu and function keys. And sure enough, last week the company announced a new generation of Kindles that are fully accessible to the blind. While the Justice Department was making demands, and Perez was making speeches, the market was working.

  20. #20 |  Kevin | 

    “Then I guess nobody should be driving cars, using iPhones, playing video games, or running the 400M with hurdles since blind people can’t do any of those, either.”

    In addition, we should all have to learn braille, and all books should be printed in braille, so everyone is equal. This has the added benefit of saving the planet because we can all read in the dark and save energy.

    On a related note, this is a good article on braille at drive-up ATM’s: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/946/why-is-there-braille-on-drive-up-teller-machines

  21. #21 |  Cyto | 

    Under the “stupid staged fight to make a point” category, last night ABC’s insipid “What would you do?” segment was particularly irresponsible. They had a group of three teenage boys attacking a homeless person with baseball bats on a city street to see if anyone would stop and help. They did this with the full cooperation of the local police.

    Now, they were fortunate in that the people who happened by were mostly elderly and disproportionately women, but they still had some near brushes with a violent confrontation. They also put people in (modest) danger who were concentrating on stopping the assault while standing in the middle of the street.

    But my version of “what possibly could go wrong?” included someone younger, more athletic and more macho jumping out of a car to help. Or perhaps someone armed with a handgun. Would you stop to chat with someone wielding a baseball bat against a homeless man if you had the physical ability to disarm and disable them with a sucker punch? What would happen if one of those middle aged women had pulled out her gun instead of her cell phone? How well would the police hiding in the nearby storefront respond? How would she respond if they came rushing out with guns drawn?

    The whole premise of the show is sickening anyway – it seems to be designed to put people in very uncomfortable and compromising positions so that we can feel superior about how we would respond. Or so we can laugh at how mad some lady got when the waitress hit on her boyfriend. Ha-ha! We made you guys break up! Yeah, that’s great fun….

  22. #22 |  Salvo | 

    I still am of the belief that Hugo Chavez is the world’s most successful troll.

    With regard to textbooks, IIRC, there is a bit more to it. When Amazon came out with the Kindle, they had full text to speech capability…and the publishers threw a fit. See, they felt that TTS was a copyright violation, and essentially made the book an audiobook, which you should have to pay again for…and an audiobook version of a book can cost 4 or 5 times the amount of the normal book. So, while the Kindle is actually capable of doing TTS for any book, in order to preserve their deals with publishers, they’ve removed that functionality for most books.

    Not sure how this would work for textbooks, except I would imagine that the publishers would be jumping for e-book versions of textbooks. After all, you can’t buy used e-books.

  23. #23 |  TomMil | 

    How many billionaires to we have to jail to get criminal justice reform?

    cyto, I watched part of that “What Would You Do?” segment. Your choice of the word “insipid” is the perfect adjective for all of the reasons you note. I also thought the the handicapped parking thing was strange. If we agree that tying up a handicapped spot for two minutes to into a deli for a pack of smokes is wrong, why is it okay for ABC to tie one up for a day (days?) to sell laundry detergent and erection pills?

  24. #24 |  RainerK | 

    Radley, sometimes I don’t know where you come from. It’s difficult to tell, because you make statements without elaboration.
    “Never thought I’d be saying this, but props to Mayor Bloomberg.”

    Usually the mayor has no problem disrespecting private property rights when it suits his agenda, now he respects them for the same reason. I call that hypocritical.

    As for the mosque, I wish the Muslims that want to build it had as much tolerance as they demand from us. Fact is, it wasn’t just 4 handfuls of individuals who attacked us, as the mayor says. It was done in the name of Islam with the cooperation and approval of many muslims. That was nine years ago. I haven’t seen muslim leaders work actively to sideline the extremists in their midst. Instead we have seen hundreds more instances of muslim intolerance. Need I mention what would happen if the tables were turned and christians would do that?
    Most of us have no idea how widespread and pervasive the preaching of intolerance and Jihad is in the mosques. None of our media will touch the story.
    For reasons of respect they should build their mosque elsewhere and without government meddling of any kind. But for them, respect is a one way street.
    The mayor is utterly wrong and in denial of reality with his professions of “tolerance”. Has nothing to do with it. The mayor is an ass. Does he really think the muslim radicals would tolerate him for one second? “Peace in our time!” Sniff.

    BTW, am still waiting for your elaboration on the Journolist “silliness”.

  25. #25 |  TomMil | 

    Geez, I gotta edit my posts more carefully.

  26. #26 |  pris | 

    Bloomberg article:

    Next thing you know there will be falafel or other highly seasoned terrorist meats and cheeses sold in the area.

    pourmeacupofcoffee

  27. #27 |  Omri | 

    Radley, you’re missing an important detail. The copyright lobby is actively fighting to prevent devices like the Kindle from converting books to other forms (e.g. voice). That issue is still unresolved, and so switching to Kindle textbooks does mean screwing blind students over.

  28. #28 |  gregopvuur | 

    On the “staged fight to bait police”: don’t police stage events everyday to bait citizens? If the pastor had called it a “sting operation to catch criminals” no one would object. But somehow because the target was a police officer people are getting upset? This seems to be taking the us vs. them approach a step further, though, by adopting police tactics against the police rather than protesting passively.

    What would have been a more appropriate method of testing officer’s reactions in high stress situations? They already go through training before becoming sworn officers yet we see that training go out the window time and time again. This test was controlled on a few levels, according to the article: trained actors, consent of park security, and apparently a script for the whole thing.

    I’m also dubious on the nature of the officer’s injuries. I’m with Dave W. that whoever assaulted the officer would be in jail right now if such an assault did occur. I also doubt the officer would have shown restraint enough to not Tase that person, I’m thinking of the Seattle incident where the officer punched the girl in the face in full view of a hundred bystanders.

  29. #29 |  Radley Balko | 

    The mayor is utterly wrong and in denial of reality with his professions of “tolerance”. Has nothing to do with it. The mayor is an ass. Does he really think the muslim radicals would tolerate him for one second?

    From the NY Times:

    Oz Sultan, the programming director for the center, said the complex was based on Jewish community centers and Y.M.C.A.’s in Manhattan. It is to have a board composed of Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders and is intended to create a national model of moderate Islam.

    Sounds like this is the very example of the kind of moderate, tolerant Islam opponents of the project say doesn’t exist.

    BTW, am still waiting for your elaboration on the Journolist “silliness”.

    A bunch of liberal journalists, pundits, activists, and academics — the overwhelming majority of whom publicly identify as liberals and publicly write in support of liberal politics — had a private email list in which they discussed how to advance liberal ideas, and to make fun of people they disagree with. Sorry, but what I am supposed to be outraged about? That people who are openly liberal in public are also liberal in private? That people who write for the Nation, The American Prospect, and Media Matters privately talk about how to push liberal ideas? That they make fun of conservatives?

    Conservative journalists, pundits, and activists have been holding weekly strategy sessions with Grover Norquist for more than a decade.

    I sometimes talk with other libertarian journalists about how to inject libertarian ideas into the public debate.

    Journolist was snobby, elitist, and group-thinkish. It was also stupid of them to think the list would stay private. But I really don’t see the big revelation is in all of this.

    I’m far more offended when Chris Hayes publicly writes about how we shouldn’t worry about the federal deficit than by the fact that he shares his private thoughts on politics and policy with like-minded people on an email list.

  30. #30 |  Mattocracy | 

    RainerK,

    Right, all Muslims are out to get us. Cause Bin Ladin and the Iranian Government speak for all Muslims in this world just like The Westboro Baptist Church speaks for all Christians. Therefore, all Christians hate America. We need round those assholes up too and tear down their shit as well.

    And don’t forget, all homosexuals are really child molesters who want to kidnap your kids, pot will make you uncontrolable rapist, and violent video games are responsible for turning people into serial killers.

    You keep believing all that fear mongering stuff and let them keep pulling your strings.

  31. #31 |  David | 

    Re Conrad Black:

    Not necessarily your “fault” (depends upon how you became aware of the story, though it does explicitly note therein the quote came from the National Post), but given the story is essentially a bunch of quotes from Conrad Black’s NP column, linking to the complete column he wrote would be much better:

    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/07/31/conrad-black-my-prison-education/

  32. #32 |  Monica | 

    Black also spoke of seeing “the failure of the US War on Drugs, with absurd sentences, (including 20 years for marijuana offences, although 42 percent of Americans have used marijuana and it is the greatest cash crop in California).”

    He has a lot of money to throw at the reform movement. Let’s see if he puts his money where his mouth is, so to speak.

  33. #33 |  BSK | 

    I don’t care if the Mosque houses the most fervent practitioners of extreme fundamentalist Islam… they have every right to build their Mosque where they so choose. I hate when the primary defense for actions taken by Muslims is, “Oh, don’t worry, they are the GOOD kind,” as if it would be okay to restrict the rights of the “bad kind”, whatever kind that might be.

    As for the Arenas situation, I’m curious where the conservative 2nd Amendment folks are during this…

  34. #34 |  Max | 

    @#9 Andrew S.

    Yes! I wish I could pos rep you a thousand times! Also worked in a college bookstore, and you’re right on all points. My store liked buying back books and reselling them used, it was a better profit margin for the store than buying new books, and also had no shipping costs involved. And customers were generally happier when they could buy cheaper used books and sell their books back for a decent amount after the semester*.

    I’m pretty sure there’s something going on between publishers and professors, there’s no way people with PhDs are dumb enough to think going to a new edition every single year is beneficial ot their students. I do recall one professor I had freshman year that assigned his own book as required. Except, if that wasn’t skeevy enough, it was “unfinished” so we bought looseleaf pages of the current draft. Which seems awesome to everyone at the time: heck of a lot cheaper than buying a bound hardback textbook, right? Then reality set in. Because it was looseleaf, it couldn’t be sold back at the end of the semester. When those with hardbacks sold theirs back, they ended up paying less than us for their one semester usage. Flash forward 4 years, me still working in the bookstore, and this guy’s STILL using looseleaf pages of his unfinished book for the class, so every single student has to buy a new copy!

    *At least at my store, we gave 1/3 to 1/2 the new book value back for books we could sell again, and sold used copies at 3/4 the new value, generally. Not always, but most of the time. If a book wasn’t being used again (new edition usually the reason), we’d send the books to a wholesaler if possible, but those were worth a tiny fraction of the book’s original value. Most people who complained about being ripped off on reselling their books was because of this. I’d always tell people if the book was only able to be bought for wholesale to just keep the darn book. Even if you only reference it once again your whole life, it’s worth more than the $3 or whatever we could offer for it.
    /rant

  35. #35 |  RainerK | 

    Thanks, Radley.
    They colluded to selectively shape the news, according to their agenda. They colluded to trash people even if the facts didn’t fit.
    If, as a journalist, you think this is nothing to be outraged about, I must be skeptical of your writing and think: Is he giving me the full story or is he advancing his ideas? Not a comforting thought for me. Not good for your credibility.

  36. #36 |  Robert | 

    Radley,

    Conspiring to smear someone in print and over the airwaves as racist, when no proof exists to back up this claim, is not “making fun” of somebody.

    And really, I’d expect a better excuse from you than “The other side did it too!”. Both deserve shame and scorn.

    I agree with you about 95% of the time, but on this one you are in the wrong.

  37. #37 |  Radley Balko | 

    Conspiring to smear someone in print and over the airwaves as racist, when no proof exists to back up this claim, is not “making fun” of somebody.

    That was one guy, Spencer Ackerman. He’s a notorious hothead, and if you read the rest of that thread, he was ignored by everyone else participating in that particular discussion. The fact that no one went through with Ackerman’s suggestion is a pretty good indication of how shallow that particular conspiracy was.

    I’m not defending Ackerman. The suggestion was repugnant. But any time you have a listserve with that many people, you’re going to get some moronic contributions. I certainly wouldn’t want to be personally held accountable for everything people write in this blog’s comments section.

    And more broadly, I obviously don’t agree with much of what was discussed on that list. But it’s also not the crime of the century that Breitbart’s making it out to be.

  38. #38 |  Radley Balko | 

    If, as a journalist, you think this is nothing to be outraged about, I must be skeptical of your writing and think: Is he giving me the full story or is he advancing his ideas? Not a comforting thought for me. Not good for your credibility.

    Guess you’ll have to stop reading me, then. I always try to give the full story, but I’m a journalist with a definite point of view. Never pretended otherwise. And frankly, I think objectivity is a farce. Better to be open and honest about your biases.

    And if it took leaked messages from an off-the-record email list to reveal to you that the Nation or the American Prospect or Paul Krugman are liberal and have an agenda, you haven’t been paying much attention.

  39. #39 |  Yanqui Bob | 

    As the Kindle is basically an electronic book, why isn’t banning them considered book banning?

  40. #40 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “Never thought I’d be saying this, but props to Mayor Bloomberg.”

    Blind squirrel finds acorn.

    Fuck that blind squirrel. Some weepy pseudo-prose filled with lip service to the “Constitution” does not erase a decade of fascism.

    You’re some iconoclast, Radley.

  41. #41 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #40 Cynical in CA:

    “You’re some iconoclast, Radley.”

    Jesus Cynical keep your shirt on. Radley is supporting one decision made by Bloomberg. I doubt that means he has gone soft. I’m guessing that most of the population would view Radley as very iconoclastic. But many anarchists think everyone that isn’t an anarchist is boring and milque toast (or on a bad day, a bunch of evil blood lusting statists). Clearly anarchists are not above becoming strident and intolerant of people who see things a bit differently. They are not so different from socialists, fascists or other deeply ideological persons.

    Alas, you can always tell an anarchist–you just can’t tell him much!

  42. #42 |  Samk | 

    Kirsten (yeah, late in the thread I know) both IE (the newer ones) and Opera (that I’m aware of, probably more) allow you to use your middle click to open links in a new tab by default and you can configure them to open in completely new windows if that’s what you’re after. I believe Firefox and Chrome have these functions as well, but I don’t regularly use them. I’ve grown so used to it I almost never left or right click on links anymore, it’s good stuff.

  43. #43 |  Cynical in CA | 

    There, I down-arrowed you too Helmut. Now we’re even.

    ;-p

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Crankypants

    P.S. I still stand by what I wrote. You can’t give an inch to these statist m’er f’ers like Bloomberg. Let him repeal every fascist policy he rammed through in his term, let him stand on the steps of City Hall and repudiate his statism and we can talk. Until then, no mercy, for none is offered by him either.

  44. #44 |  Kevin3% | 

    KODACHROME
    wow!!! Now where do you get it developed?

    I shoot film also. Here is a funny story: while in Amsterdam last year, I ran out of film on my person (had plenty back at the hotel) and so went looking to find a place that sold 35mm film. Finally, after 6 or 7 places. Everyone seems to shoot digital now.

  45. #45 |  Rojo | 

    Well, props to Bloomberg as far as it goes, but this, from his speech, is a pernicious lie that enables our wars: “On that day, 3,000 people were killed because some murderous fanatics didn’t want us to enjoy the freedoms to profess our own faiths, to speak our own minds, to follow our own dreams, and to live our own lives.”

    Whatever you want to say about Osama and his murderous, criminal ilk, it is clear that they didn’t attack us for our freedoms. They wouldn’t give two thoughts to us if it weren’t for decades of interference in their world. One could argue that those policies are worth it (I personally find them indefensible even without the terrorism blowback) but obfuscating that fact and claiming that they attacked us for our “freedoms” is simply war propaganda.

  46. #46 |  Eric H | 

    Kristen, #6 – Click on the link with your mouse scroll wheel. It’ll open it in a new tab. Click on the tab at the top of the screen with the wheel and it’ll close the tab.

  47. #47 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I don’t care if the Mosque houses the most fervent practitioners of extreme fundamentalist Islam… they have every right to build their Mosque where they so choose. I hate when the primary defense for actions taken by Muslims is, “Oh, don’t worry, they are the GOOD kind,” as if it would be okay to restrict the rights of the “bad kind”, whatever kind that might be.

    I think there are two different issues here. The first is whether the government has any right to block the development. I would guess nearly all libertarians are in agreement that even if they called it the Mosque of the 9/11 Martyrs and dedicated it as “the first step toward toppling the Great Satan” that they would have a right to do so.

    What “kind” of Muslims they are IS relevant to the second issue, however, which is whether or not the project deserves public scorn. I think everybody here would agree that Rev. Phelps has the right to spew his homophobic venom but that he also should be denounced by anybody with a shred of humanity. In theory, I don’t think there would be anything wrong with denouncing Muslims who would choose to build a mosque near 9/11 with the intention of agitating the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families. That being said, I don’t see any such intention and thus have no problem with the project. Nonetheless, I don’t think that being a libertarian requires you to refrain from judging the prudence of the mosque project even while recognizing the developers’ right to proceed.

  48. #48 |  BamBam | 

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/08/portland_lemonade_stand_runs_i.html

    Gotta stop those kids from selling lemonade!

  49. #49 |  lunchstealer | 

    Sez Hitch: “Chávez, in other words, is very close to the climactic moment when he will announce that he is a poached egg and that he requires a very large piece of buttered toast so that he can lie down and take a soothing nap.”

    That’s a pretty awesome bit of imagery, but it sounds like a reference. It doesn’t ring a bell with me, and I can’t find it on the interwebs. Anybody know where that line’s taken from, or is it a Hitch original?

  50. #50 |  BSK | 

    “What “kind” of Muslims they are IS relevant to the second issue, however, which is whether or not the project deserves public scorn. I think everybody here would agree that Rev. Phelps has the right to spew his homophobic venom but that he also should be denounced by anybody with a shred of humanity. In theory, I don’t think there would be anything wrong with denouncing Muslims who would choose to build a mosque near 9/11 with the intention of agitating the victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families. That being said, I don’t see any such intention and thus have no problem with the project. Nonetheless, I don’t think that being a libertarian requires you to refrain from judging the prudence of the mosque project even while recognizing the developers’ right to proceed.”

    I agree 100%. I was speaking more along the lines of the first point, specifically the government’s involvement. I fully believe in freedom of expression and freedom of speech and recognize it works both ways. I am free to say whatever I like and you are just as free to denounce what I say. I don’t believe in relativism and think that we SHOULD denounce that which we find morally repugnant. Obviously, we want to be thoughtful in how we determine this, but to each their own.

    I’m just tired of seeing the argument made that certain actions taken by individual Muslims or the Muslim community are “okay” only because they are being done by “good Muslims”. The same thing happened with the outrage over the Muslim pageant winner in Michigan (I believe). When people objected, the response was, “Don’t worry! She listens to rock and roll.”

    By all means, as a private citizen denounce actions you find deplorable to your liking. So long as you do so in a reasonable way, I’ve got no issue. Even if you do it in an UNreasonable way, so long as you don’t impede the rights of others, I might deplore your tactics but would not say you couldn’t use them. I just think in general that we, as both private citizens and our government, should focus on the legitimacy of an action by assessing the action itself and not the individual performing the act.

  51. #51 |  BSK | 

    Balko-

    You may have talked about it and I will try to search the archives, but since you brought up lawbreaking athletes and have such a penchant for dogs, I’m curious where you stand on the Michael Vick situation. I thought some of the most interesting perspectives on this case came from within the libertarian community, as there was somewhat of a divide with regards to the rights of animals vs the rights of people, that didn’t get into all the whiny sanctimony or brutish savagery that such discussions often devolve to. Curious what your thoughts were or if you could point me elsewhere if you’ve already discussed them. Thanks.

  52. #52 |  mcmillan | 

    BSK – I seemed to remember reading something here about that and did a quick search myself to find this
    http://www.theagitator.com/2007/08/23/what-gene-said/

    I didn’t really dig too much to see what else might be around though.

  53. #53 |  BSK | 

    McMillan-

    Thanks. There doesn’t seem to be much one way or another, but I think Balko gives a good take there. I’ve actually posited the same questioned mentioned in the quote there, as to whether we would have a moral argument against a far superior alien base eating us. Interesting. Thanks!

  54. #54 |  Duncan20903 | 

    Well the least you could have done is to embed Paul Simon’s Kodachrome in honor of film going the way of the buggy whip.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXZTBu_3ioI

    Anyway, isn’t it a ‘Neekon’ camera?

  55. #55 |  Alan | 

    I had no particular objections to Chavez back in his early days, but I also didn’t pay much attention to him. Now I just think he’s nuts, but convenient.

    Convenient, because while I could be wrong I’d lay odds that for a very significant proportion of the Tea Party, he’s the only non-US national leader they could name (Castro only counts if you can give me the current leader’s first name) – the socialist bogeyman of the right. Why is that convenient? Because between the recent Citizens United decision and the filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act, Republicans have managed to make it legal for Chavez to silently pump as much money as he wants into any Federal election in the USA – all he needs is a privately-owned US corporation funded by foreign investors, which is able to purchase political ads without any disclosure of who’s buying the ads, much less who owns the corporation.

    Convenient because I love being able to point out that after all the hoopla over Al Gore’s $65,000 fundraiser that was covertly funded by a Chinese temple (& further back by their gov? Presumably), Mitch McConnell & friends just made that look like pocket change. *slow clap*

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