Morning Links

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

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109 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 

    the man traveling the country looking for typos was probably a self-righteous troll who was kicked out of all his chat rooms… like samuel colt said, ‘those who spell things the same way all the time just aren’t very creative.’ (or something like that.)

    those strippers should pass around an offering basket if they’re gonna dance on a church parking lot…

  2. #2 |  fish | 

    ….is later arrested while having sex at his home.

    Yeah, I would want to get one in before spending the night in jail too!

  3. #3 |  flukebucket | 

    Another reason why Ari’s brother ain’t hiring

  4. #4 |  Chuchundra |

    The fact is that if Mr. Fleisher’s company has to buy an extra box of paper clips it will cause them to go belly up. He’s in not position to hire anyone regardless of tax policy.

    The reason Mr. Fleischer’s company isn’t hiring has nothing to do with taxes or the policies of any administration. It’s because his business has been in decline for a decade. As the CEO, that decline is his fault. All his complaining about taxes and benefits is just a smokescreen for his own incompetence.

    The world changed around them a decade ago and they failed to adapt. In 2000, their annual sales were 66 million dollars with cash on hand of 12 million. By 2003, sales were down to 55 million and cash was down to 6 million. That was before the financial crisis and under the allegedly pro business policies of the previous administration. In 2009, sales were down to 44 million and cash was down to 2 million. They manages to lose 17 million dollars that year and got a carry back refund of some 5 million dollar. Mr. Fleischer should spend less time complaining about taxes and more time thinking about how he can correct 10 years of mismanagement.

    Don’t take my word for it, read the balance sheets yourself.

  5. #5 |  PogueMahone | 

    Fleisher’s argument is disingenuous.
    For starters, where does he get “Governments impose a 33% surtax on Sally’s job each year.”?
    He clearly states that “The roughly $13,000 taken from her by various government entities means that some 22% of her gross pay goes to Washington or Trenton.” So where does the other 11% come from?

    Is he talking about the health care benefits his company provides Sally?
    “When you add it all up, it costs $74,000 to put $44,000 in Sally’s pocket and to give her $12,000 in benefits. Bottom line: Governments impose a 33% surtax on Sally’s job each year.”
    That’s just simply not true. Governments are not imposing the benefits his company provides for Sally. The worst he has to bitch about is the $4500 he has to match in medicare and SS taxes. It sux, I know, I do it too with my employees. Maybe he should look into the new HIRE act which releases his company from matching taxes for the rest of the year for new employees.

    Companies offer health care and other benefits to employees in order to compete for the best employees in the labor market. No one is making him give health care benefits to Sally.
    He knows this. So what’s the deal here?

    Well, there is the fact that Michael Fleisher, in addition to being Ari Fleisher’s brother (a pure coincidence, I’m sure), was appointed by President Bush to be Director of Private Sector Development for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.
    You know the guys… the ones who did such a bang up job of keeping track of the billions gone missing in Iraq.
    So maybe he’s a bit colored.

    It’s a pity too. There is an argument that governments make it too expensive and too risky to bring on new employees during times of economic troubles-
    Just not this one. And not from this guy.


  6. #6 |  downdurnst | 

    In regards to the iPhone story, what seems to be missing from most of the reporting of this story is that EVERY smartphone does this, Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Blackberry, etc – it just happens that the iPhone does it in such a way that forensic researchers find it easier to extract data from.

    The point is that if you own a smartphone, understand that you are opening yourself up to privacy risks – which is why the whole concept of doing something that you don’t want found out on your daily phone should be ridiculous to anyone trying to be discreet. (why do you think drug dealers use ‘burner’ phones?)

  7. #7 |  Scared Stiff | 

    The WSJ is now little more than the print edition of Fox News… pretty useless for anything other than catching up on the latest GOP talking points.

  8. #8 |  bbartlog | 

    Part of Will’s argument appears to be that ending birthright citizenship will (effectively) mollify the median voter and make it harder for illegal immigration opponents to get any of the other things they want. Although there may be some truth to this (see for example the history of gun control legislation in this country), I really dislike this form of argument. It’s not an argument on the merits or the legality, it’s sort of an elitist ‘ya gotta pacify the rubes’ line of attack.

  9. #9 |  Mattocracy | 

    I wonder if people would more seriously consider reforms in the criminal justice system and our tax code if strippers were involved. Honk if you love boobs and hate prosecutorial misconduct!

  10. #10 |  Paula | 

    Companies aren’t hiring because demand has taken a nose dive. Enough with the jibberish talk about taxes. No sane business person let’s their money sit if their is demand for their goods or services. Basic business tenant.

    The WSJ is not objective anymore. Was it ever?

  11. #11 |  mark r | 

    In Mr. Fleischer’s case, the reason their company isn’t hiring is that their sales fell like a stone from 2008 to 2009, and have continued their alarming descent.

    You don’t drop 25% yoy and go on a hiring spree. No matter how favorable the hiring environment.

    His company’s SEC filings are a much better explanation for the lack of hiring than his op-ed.

  12. #12 |  Clark | 

    Radley, just a heads up, today’s Charlotte Observer has a front page story about the SBI withholding evidence and altering reports to match prosecution’s narratives of crimes. I think you have mentioned these cases before, but it was surprising to see as their lead story.

  13. #13 |  Chris Berez | 

    I feel bad for religious organizations that picket strip clubs. Poor naive bastards. Don’t they realize they’re wasting their time? When forced to choose between tits and anything, tits will win by a landslide every single time.

  14. #14 |  Chris in AL | 

    Tits or Death!

  15. #15 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Tax policy does play a huge role in economics, just not exactly like Fleischer says. However; if the “Tax Everything” and “Government Everything” crowd gets to propose crap, so should Fleischer.

    Fleischer’s argument could better be stated that a company competing internationally, but handicapped with an 80% tax rate won’t do very well. We’ve established the principle to be sound and now we can haggle over %. Hint: anything above 3% is a rip-off.

  16. #16 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I want no part of any religion that can’t live peacefully with tits.

  17. #17 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Enough with the jibberish talk about taxes.

    Again, it is not jibberish. US tax and fiscal policy is very much to continue digging to get out of the hole. No economic recovery (real…long term eco recovery) can take place with either excessive debt or excessive tax policy. Currently, the US has both. To make matters EVEN worse, we are funding historic economic GROWTH/PROFITS in the expansion of the government while also pouring trillions down holes (no economic return) called Iraq and Afghanistan. So, we’re redistributing massive wealth to the government AND a hole in the ground while trying to battle economic failure with ignorant fiscal and tax policies.

    You should plan on hiding from your kids now.

  18. #18 |  Dave Krueger | 

    They arrested that flight attendant without a SWAT team? Was there a slip up somewhere or was the SWAT team just tied up somewhere else, perhaps raiding some kid’s lemonade stand? Or maybe they found out the guy didn’t have a dog, so it wasn’t worth their while.

  19. #19 |  David | 

    The most disingenuous part of Fleischer’s article is the idea that health benefits are a tax that the employer has to pay and not a form of compensation for the employee.

  20. #20 |  Aresen | 

    This is kind of scary.

    Sometimes, we Luddites have a point.


  21. #21 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I’m stealin’ that story about the strippers.

    Every weekend for the last four years, Dunfee and members of his ministry have stood watch over George’s joint, taking up residence in the right of way with signs, video cameras and bullhorns in hand. They videotape customers’ license plates and post them online, and they try to save the souls of anyone who comes and goes.

    I’d say the strip club owner has a legitimate gripe. It’s too damn bad the rest of the public isn’t out there with the strippers. I sure as hell would be (and I’d be takin’ pictures, too!).

  22. #22 |  Kevin | 

    I wonder if I protest a strip club, if the strippers will protest in front of my house?

    #18. I thought the same thing. In fact, health benefits from employers are generally tax free, therefore the employer is actually giving the employee more bang for the buck.

    The foxnews comments have motivated me to post a link where they actually get it mostly right:

  23. #23 |  PogueMahone | 

    In other news,
    Old man takes a quite drive in the English countryside – police pursue him at the breakneck speed of 30mph for allegedly not wearing a seat belt – police then smash his window and drags him out.
    via Turley’s blog.

    Jonathon Turley:
    Notably, the driver complained “It’s something you might expect in America but not in the quiet of the British countryside.”

    (note: I don’t mean to thread-jack anything, and if I’m out of line by posting this comment, please let me know. It’s just something I know Radley’s readers would be interested in. Thanks)

  24. #24 |  JS | 

    PogueMahone, nah Radley’s usually pretty cool about threadjacks around here and it was a worthy story imo. Sad to see the rest of the world affected by the bad example that our domestic police set. I talked to some people from New Zealand one time and they related how terrifying it was to be harrassed by the police while they were visiting Los Angeles. They contrasted the polite police of their own country with the militarized angry LA cops they had encountered. I think shows like COPS give cops overseas the idea that they can tyrannize over people just like American cops do.

  25. #25 |  divadab | 

    I feel for the flight attendant – that last selfish pushy too-cheap-to-check-his-fifty-lb-portmanteau dickweed shoved him over the edge.

    Dealing with the general public on an outing from their hermetic TV bubbles sucks.

  26. #26 |  Dave Krueger | 

    This is kind of scary.

    Just remember The New Fourth Amendment: If you’re done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide.

  27. #27 |  DPirate | 

    Hard to believe the cops didn’t intentionally screw that flight attendant arrest up.

  28. #28 |  Toonhead | 

    The strip club owner is a parasite? Church is tax exempt – strip club pays taxes. Taxes that fund the road to the church.

  29. #29 |  J sub D | 

    Evidence that Radley has a following among Chinese youth?

    A large Chinese study suggests that otherwise healthy teenagers are much more vulnerable to depression if they spend too much time on the Internet.

  30. #30 |  xenia onatopp | 

    As someone whose employment history includes nothing but jobs dealing directly with the public, all of which have required me to remain calm, reasonable, and polite even in the face of considerable provocation, I feel both awe and envy towards that flight attendant. Assuming he can afford to retire that’s a hell of a way to go.

  31. #31 |  Irving Washington | 

    Slater’s charged with reckless endangerment, but JetBlue says no one was ever endangered in any way.

  32. #32 |  KBCraig | 

    This is kind of scary.

    Of course. Just as Consumerist intended it to be.

    Except it’s not scary at all when you look at the actual facts. Not to mention, this isn’t an iPhone issue, it’s the same with all similar devices.

  33. #33 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Actually, Fleischer does have a point.

    Deadweight loss.

    Look at the picture in the link. The two points on the the horizontal axis, equilibrium quantity and market quantity with price ceiling represent what happens when you impose a tax as well. You go from the higher level of output to lower. In the case of labor markets it means a lower demand for labor–i.e. fewer jobs.

    Firms facing uncertainty with regards to health care costs, payroll taxes and other taxes may very well decide to postpone hiring decisions until that kind of uncertainty is resolved or reduced.

    This kind of uncertainty is similar to what Robert Higgs calls Regime Uncertainty.

    Evidence from public opinion polls and corporate bond markets shows that FDR’s policies prevented a robust recovery of long-term private investment by significantly reducing investors’ confidence in the durability of private property rights. Not until the New Deal/war economy ended and resources became available for peacetime production did private investment—and the nation’s economic health—fully recover.

    Granted it was much worse back in the 1930’s, but the same process could very well be preventing a stronger recovery.

  34. #34 |  mcmillan | 


    Not to mention, this isn’t an iPhone issue, it’s the same with all similar devices.

    From the source article the Consumerist linked to it says

    The iPhones generally store more data than other high-end phones — and investigators such as Fazio frequently can tap in to that information for evidence.

    I seem to remember seeing more details somewhere else, but can’t remember where. I want to say it was the automatic picture taken when closing the mapping app and tagging of photos that were iPhone specific. Anybody else know more about that or am I imagining it?

  35. #35 |  mcmillan | 

    I noticed I misread something from the article, it takes a screenshot of the map, not a photo. Slightly less creepy that way.

  36. #36 |  George in AZ | 

    Marty, I’m in Arizona and here we understand what happens when the language is bastardized. Call it self-righteousness if you feel better that way, but some of us believe that relying on language conventions facilitates clarity and understanding. Sloppy and inconsistent usage detracts.

  37. #37 |  joev | 

    I think it’s hard for liberal nationalists to grok this as a project motivated by an ideal of liberal equality.

    Huge props for grok.

  38. #38 |  BadExampleMan | 

    NPR’s Talk of the Nation is discussing policing and police work. OMFG it’s the most pathetic pity party for those poor, stressed-out policemen and how fucking awful it must be for them when they bust into a house without a warrant and blow away a 7-year-old in front of her grandmother.

    Poor guys. If only it weren’t so necessary to shoot children in order to protect them from the scourge of drugs.

  39. #39 |  xenia onatopp | 

    I offer no excuses or philosophical rationale for being a grammar and spelling snob. Misspelled or misused words and misplaced punctuation jump out at me, interfering with my concentration; it’s a distraction that lessens the impact of whatever I’m reading while also calling its accuracy into question. It’s an immediate and automatic response, outside of my conscious control. I can’t even grocery shop in peace, thanks to the assault by express line signs reading “12 items or less.”

    Call me a grammar Nazi if you like, I couldn’t change it even if I wanted to, and really, why on earth would I want to?

  40. #40 |  George in AZ | 

    Paula and PogueMahone, try to focus on the issue Fleischer raises. And no, the issue is not who Fleischer’s brother is, or who he worked for, or contractors in Iraq. It’s about the relationship between the cost of doing business and expanding business. And yes we all know that sales are down in this economy, but no that doesn’t negate his point about cost of employment and employment.

    Fleischer showed how many hidden costs go into, and must be covered by income, a person’s employment. If he made a mistake, it appears to be failure to add the employer’s cost of social security — it does not seem to be reflected in the totals.

    We can leave out the costs of benefits, because yes that’s employee pay. So let’s just consider what government requires Fleischer to pay for Sally’s job above her gross salary: actually *only* $5,500. That’s 8% more than her $59,000 gross salary plus company-paid benefits. Not as much as Fleischer calculated, but it is a real higher cost that must be carried.

    Sally is the one carrying the heavier burden. Sally only gets $46,000 net take-home before paying her health premium, but about $56,000 with the value of company-paid benefits. If her effective FIT rate is about 10%, she’ll suffer — including all the various taxes — withholding of about $13,000. That plus company-paid taxes comes to $18,500, which is a substantial 33% equivalent of what Sally gets in cash and benefits.

    You may feel that an 8% extra cost of employment isn’t much and can just be taken from the obscene profits you’re sure Fleischer is getting, or maybe he should just go out and sell more. But economic reality is that higher costs reduce demand — in this case, the demand for more employees.

  41. #41 |  David McElroy | 

    The story at the Consumerist website about the iPhone is misleading at best (as many stories at that site are). Instead of typing out a response to all the misleading parts, I’m just going to quote from someone in the comments thread underneath the story:


    This is more than a little bit misleading, so I’ll clarify.

    I’ll just go point by point.

    The map: When you leave the map application, the map images you last saw are cached so that the phone doesn’t have to download the images again next time you start up the app. The map is actually hundreds of images pieced together, kind of like when you print out a large image on multiple pieces of 8.5×11 and piece them together. This cache is dumped every time you restart the map application, or navigate to a different place on the map. What isn’t saved is your actual coordinates. You could be looking at a totally different part of the globe while actually being somewhere else, it doesn’t matter – what’s cached is what you’re looking at.

    Geotagging: All photographs taken with all digital cameras including phone cameras have something called EXIF (exchangeable image file format) metadata. This metadata shows what settings the camera was using (fstop values, exposure time, etc) as well as the make and model of the camera, a timestamp, and so on. GPS-enabled cameras and phone cameras also include the GPS data, but this is optional and can be disabled. Any savvy criminal will know to wipe out the EXIF metadata using a metadata viewer or even simpler methods, but most people don’t know about this.

    Browser history: This is extremely vague. Yes, some browsing data is saved in order to tailor advertising but it’s really not any different than what goes on on your home computer. I’m not sure if the phone saves some of this information outside of Safari’s history for purposes of advertisements or not.

    Snapshots: This is the most misleading of all, I think. What happens is, every time you close out an application the phone takes a snapshot of the last frame displayed before it closes. Then, when you load the application again, if it’s an application that supports backgrounding (iPod, SMS, Mail, Safari, and so on – not things like games, etc) then at the moment you recall the application this last-seen frame displays in order to create the illusion of the application loading faster than it actually does. In reality it takes a second or two for it to fully kick in again, but this process makes it seem faster. What this article fails to point out is that only one of these snapshots is kept [at any one time], and it’s replaced every time you exit the application. It’s not like your application usage history can be mined solely from these screenshots, or anything. Quite simply, these applications live in the background anyway, so any law enforcement people could just have a look at them and see what you were looking at last within that application last without any fuss over screenshots.

    I guess the point that I’d like to make is that this isn’t some sort of Orwellian nightmare device. The article is perhaps embellished for effect.

  42. #42 |  Stephen | 

    Just noticed this on digg.

    Ex-Mexico President Calls For Legalizing Drugs.

    Isn’t it nice how they never do anything like this while they are in power?

  43. #43 |  PogueMahone | 

    Hey George. I appreciate the comment.

    Paula and PogueMahone, try to focus on the issue Fleischer raises. And no, the issue is not who Fleischer’s brother is, or who he worked for, or contractors in Iraq.

    Thing is, George, I don’t have to focus on the issue Fleischer raises. As an employer, I live it every goddamned Friday when I sit down to write out payroll. And I didn’t initially put Fleischer with his brother or his activities in Iraq until well after I looked into who this guy was and why his math was so goddamned awful.
    At first, I’m reading this soon-to-be-discovered sour reasoning with great sympathy and relation. Then I read “government surtax of 33%…” and thought WTF!?! … How in the hell!?! … This guy is president of a multi-million dollar corporation!?!
    Then after a little digging, I wasn’t surprised to learn that his company is floundering, that he’s well connected, that he was involved in the biggest boondoggle since … well … ever.

    Because his argument is filled with elementary errors, who he is and what his motivations are matters on the battleground of ideas. Quite frankly, it’s one of the worst pieces of reasoning I’ve seen lately.
    I mean, look at this, “Companies have also been pressed into serving as providers of health insurance.” Pressed by whom? The government? No. I’ve got an idea – it is the labor market that “presses” employers to provide not only health insurance, but a safe and clean working environment, potential for growth, profit sharing, ect. This is to attract the best and the brightest. This is the free market at its best, baby. Labor has value too.
    And to roll that in with the government bogey man is a farce. It’s comical how flawed that is. I still can’t believe the WSJ chose to publish such swiss cheese. And it’s even made more humorous that on the same day, they publish an article on how there are so many companies out there just dying to put people back to work, but they can’t find applicants.

    As I said, there is an argument to be made here. There are real problems here. I can’t even give a guy a raise without knowing that I’ll have to pay even more to Uncle Sam. I’ve thought ever since I first sat down those many years ago to write a paycheck, that making the employer match taxes is a disincentive to hiring people or increasing their pay.
    So when this guy, a guy with questionable ties and history, throws this chunk of cheese with so many holes, the Left will promptly and enthusiastically fuck each and every one of those holes.

    Fleischer’s shoddy work in the WSJ should be mocked and discarded, not celebrated and encouraged. Step aside, junior, and let someone competent make that case.


  44. #44 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    It’s a flawed concept anyway. The only reasonable way is to take the total cost per worker and break down averages of where the money goes in a given area:

    “Black Box” Government
    Uninsurance Remedies


  45. #45 |  omar | 

    L8r Ted!

  46. #46 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Telecom equipment is designed to permit government access to what it wants and Telecom manufacturers have no incentive not to comply with requests to do so. They’re in business to make money for their shareholders, not wage war against a government that is overstepping its authority to snoop on people who, for the most part, are glad to piss away their privacy rights in exchange for a feeling of being safe. Hell, the government has now been granted so much authority to snoop by Congress that it’s almost unimaginable that there’s any kind of snooping left that isn’t legal.

    The big story isn’t that businesses partner with the government to violate people’s rights. The big story is when it gets plastered all over the news as it did with AT&T and Verizon and Congress lets them get away with it. After all, they were merely trying to be a good citizen…

  47. #47 |  croaker | 

    @33 Recovery? What recovery?

    As for the strip club story, I’ll just leave this here:

  48. #48 |  BamBam | 

    OR lemonade stand girl follow-up:

  49. #49 |  Steve Verdon | 

    I mean, look at this, “Companies have also been pressed into serving as providers of health insurance.” Pressed by whom? The government? No. I’ve got an idea – it is the labor market that “presses” employers to provide not only health insurance, but a safe and clean working environment, potential for growth, profit sharing, ect. This is to attract the best and the brightest. This is the free market at its best, baby. Labor has value too.

    Wow, talk about not knowing your history.

    Sorry, health care benefits came about during WWII. During that time, to limit growing expenditures, the government imposed wage-price controls. Firms found it hard to hire workers at the frozen wages, so they basically offered health benefits to workers in lieu of monetary wages and asked the government not to tax this form of income to which the government agreed.

    Now this creates a perverse incentive to move all sorts of things into health care that really aren’t insurable at all such as child birth costs. Health insurance should not cover child birth because it is not something that is costly AND undesirable (generally speaking). Most couples that have babies are actively pursuing that end. Then there are other things like eye glasses. These are both common and not that costly.

    Insurable events are things that are costly and undesirable….like a car accident. Very rarely do people go out for a drive looking to slam their care into a bridge support. What is not covered is maintenance even expensive maintenance.

    So the idea that it is something that the market would have produced all on its own is highly questionable and any such assertion should be take with a great deal of skepticism.

    When you add it all up, it costs $74,000 to put $44,000 in Sally’s pocket and to give her $12,000 in benefits. Bottom line: Governments impose a 33% surtax on Sally’s job each year.

    In a competitive market with no distortionary taxes Sally would be paid her marginal productive value–$74,000. With the distortionary taxes Sally is paid, in benefits and wages, $56,000. The difference between $74,000 and $56,000 is $18,000.

    $18,000/$56,000 = 0.321429

    Or about 32%. So yes, Fleischer is wrong, by 1% point.

    It is a widely accepted conclusion that a tax on any commodity, and labor is a commodity, will result in a deadweight loss. Now in the case of a negative externality this deadweight loss might actually result in the socially optimal level of output (i.e. it forces the buyers and sellers to internalize a cost that they were previously not paying). However, generally this is not why taxes are levied and as such they have a distortionary impact.

    Right now we are at a point in time where there is tremendous uncertainty about the level of many of these taxes. You yourself noted it when you mention the problem with giving and employee a raise.

    @33 Recovery? What recovery?

    Many economic indicators appear to have bottomed out and are moving in a positive direction. This has lead most economic analysts to conclude that the recession is over–i.e. we are in a recovery phase. Keep in mind that after the Great Depression the recovery was extremely anemic and protracted. We might very well see the same thing here.

  50. #50 |  Steve Verdon | 

    By the way, by a protracted recovery I mean that economic growth remains below what it might otherwise be with a more robust recovery (or below potential) and unemployment will likely remain above its natural rate. And of course, there is the possibility that the economy could head right back into contracting–i.e. a double dip recession.

  51. #51 |  Z | 

    We still have the Fourth Amendment? Way cool!

  52. #52 |  Mo | 

    Solution for the iPhone, put in a strong password and it wipes if they put in the wrong one ten times.

  53. #53 |  PogueMahone | 

    Wow, talk about not knowing your history.

    Sorry, health care benefits came about during WWII. During that time, to limit growing expenditures, the government imposed wage-price controls. Firms found it hard to hire workers at the frozen wages, so they basically offered health benefits to workers in lieu of monetary wages and asked the government not to tax this form of income to which the government agreed.

    A fascinating history lesson. Thanks.
    Tell me though, how does this alter the fact that Bogen chooses to offer health care benefits? Wow, talk about a non sequitur.

    I’m sure that you could tell a very interesting tale on western business culture and how certain employee compensations came about over the years, but none of that changes the fact that governments do not “impose” these benefits.

    And I will feel comforted, even after your camp fire ghost stories, that such specters do not haunt me as I do NOT feel the cold, irresistible force of “governments” forcing me to provide health care benefits.

    They DON’T. I know employment laws, dude. I live with them every week.
    End of story.
    What is it about these inaccuracies you guys don’t get???

    Piss and moan about matching taxes all you want. I’ll join in on the chorus as I know that tune backwards and forwards. But bitching about company provided health care benefits… let me show you the smallest violin in the world.
    That’s your bed, you lay in it.

  54. #54 |  Ben | 

    A quick anecdote about iPhones tracking capability. There’s a certain website that allows people to submit naked pictures of themselves for the public to view. It’s an… interesting website.

    Anyhow, I’m a photographer. When I see a photo I like (whether it’s a landscape, flower or naked girl), I generally right click on it and pull up an attached piece of data called the EXIF (Exchangeable image file format) data. It gives lens info, camera info, time and date taken and a whole bunch of other info.

    So I’m surfing this website mentioned above. I happen to check a photo of a cute woman. The EXIF data tells me it’s taken with an iPhone. A GPS enabled iPhone. With the data came GPS coords. So for shiats and giggles I threw those coords into Google Maps. Came up with a street address. Checked a phone directory. Got a last name. Googled that last name plus the town, came up with a Myspace account. Of the girl in the photos. Took me about 5 mins.

    The moral of the story is that Ben is a pervert. Beyond that, know your technology and what info you’re putting on the internet. I’m sure that young woman had no idea that she was putting her name and address on a porn site. The vast majority of people wouldn’t have found this info, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there to find.

    The iPhone manual is very specific about geotagging images with GPS coords. Know your technology, lest it come back to bite you in the ass.

  55. #55 |  ktc2 | 

    What website is that Ben?

  56. #56 |  Dave Krueger | 

    What a coincidence. It just so happens I too am a photographer and a pervert.

  57. #57 |  Ben | 

    post your naked body . com. It was set 911.

    Moderate this if it’s unacceptable, Radley.

  58. #58 |  Ben | 

    Ya, Dave, but you’re talented and I’m just a noob.

  59. #59 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    They want to tax bennies. Exempt would be union workers and members of Congress.

  60. #60 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Re: #58 – which aspect (photographer or pervert) are you commenting on?

  61. #61 |  PW | 

    Remember Shirley Sherrod, the Ag Department bureaucrat who got fired over the Andrew Breitbart dustup? Quite a few libertarians came to her defense at the time despite evidence that she represents the worst of the worst type of welfare feeders at the public trough. Among other things, she recently bilked the taxpayers in a multi-million dollar lawsuit settlement against the Ag Department, including $300,000 she claimed in “pain and suffering” because the government wouldn’t bailout her husband’s racialist farm coop project, “New Communities Inc,” when it faltered in the 1980’s.

    Well more has come out about New Communities Inc in the last week, including an investigative article by an African American history professor who briefly infiltrated the project in the 1970’s.

    The short end of it is New Communities Inc. was a 6,000 acre race based marxian farm commune that got into trouble in the 70’s for paying workers as little as $.67 cents an hour and for abusing child laborers.

  62. #62 |  PW | 

    The Washington Examiner has more on Sherrod. I stated at the time that she was a horrible excuse for a human being and took a lot of flak for it. Based on the following, I stand by and reiterate that characterization.

  63. #63 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Interesting, PW. But, what is your point?

  64. #64 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Got it, PW. Your premise is that libertarians were wrong to defend her video statements from 25 years ago because she did some other (completely unrelated) bad things.

    That’s a hard premise to defend. Are you sure that’s what you mean?

  65. #65 |  David | 

    Of course it’s what he means. in modern politics, you’re apparently not allowed to defend someone or agree with anything they say unless you pledge to stand behind the total flawless morality of everything they have ever said or done. Hence, PW.

  66. #66 |  omar | 

    PW, I accuse you of the following:

    False dilemma for presenting the situation as either good or evil, with us or against us.
    Association Fallacy for making Sherrod the target of her husband’s problems
    Ad hominem for attacking Sherrod’s character to imply libertarians were wrong to defend her for something that should not have belmished her character
    Straw Man for implying “the libertarians” were defending her in her entirety when “we” were arguing about ONE thing she said and the consequences of it.

  67. #67 |  PW | 

    #64 – Considering that all her other bad things were either a direct function of her job at the Ag Department or her lawsuit and farm organization activities before she worked there, it is a bit of a stretch to claim that they were “completely unrelated” to the Breitbart thing.

  68. #68 |  PW | 

    #66 – You are severely overreaching your fallacies, Omar. At times to Monty Python levels. More specifically:

    1. I never said there was a dilemma between “good & evil,” and in fact have said many times that there is very little “good” that can be said of any party to the whole Sherrod affair.

    2. Sherrod was the co-manager of her husband’s marxist black power plantation, and received the exact same lawsuit settlement amount from the government as her husband did, so the association is indeed a legitimate one.

    3. The very job from which Sherrod was fired – a bureaucrat administrator of the government’s noxious farm subsidies program – along with the fact that she believes those programs are a good thing and a credit to herself are indeed blemishes upon her character.

    4. In no place did I ever say “the libertarians” defended her as a monolithic unit. Quite the opposite, *some* libertarians defended her as some sort of “victim” who was unfairly screwed out of a job, but the fact is that job never should have existed in the first place and all evidence points to her being an absolutely horrible person to hold it.

  69. #69 |  BamBam | 

    remove exif data:

    I have been using this for years. Many people just don’t know about EXIF and will therefore fall victim to Ben the Pervert.

  70. #70 |  PW | 

    Actually David, I’m far more concerned about using a little discretion in picking the poster children for our political causes. If you’re going to take a stance and expend political capital around a single person, it’s common sense that you pick somebody who doesn’t have baggage.

    You don’t pick a Klansman to be the poster child of “free speech.” You don’t pick a welfare queen to be the poster child of “anti-discrimination.” And you don’t pick a drug addled prostitute to be the poster child of “sexual liberation.” Why? Because they all have baggage that overshadows the point you are trying to make.

    Well, Sherrod has baggage. And lots of it.

    My point is that far too many around here and elsewhere were so busy frothing at the mouth to smack Breitbart for the relatively minor offense of being a hackish provocateur that they didn’t even notice that baggage. Now Sherrod’s baggage has been aired, and it reeks.

  71. #71 |  PW | 

    There’s also another underlying question in the Sherrod affair:

    Why was the U.S. Department of Agriculture employing a former co-director of a marxist black power farm collective that exploited child laborers in slave-like conditions turned frivolous lawsuit artist who is currently living off of settlement cash that she obtained by suing the very same agency that employed her?

    Shirley Sherrod takes bureaucratic WTF to a whole new level.

  72. #72 |  EH | 

    PW: Is there anybody you (substantially) agree with politically who should be fired from the bureaucracy at large?

  73. #73 |  xenia onatopp | 

    Wrong again; a Klansman is the ideal posterboy for free speech, since he represents the sort of speech that “reasonable” people are most likely to try and suppress, and a drug using prostitute is an excellent example of an adult being punished for choices made in what should be her private life.

  74. #74 |  PW | 

    If I had a say in the matter I’d probably eliminate upwards of 95% of all current jobs at the federal, state, and local government levels.

    Since that is unlikely to happen in our current political climate though, I find it a perfectly reasonable expectation that government positions should generally NOT be given to Klansmen, black power marxists, and people who become multi-millionaires off of frivolous lawsuits.

  75. #75 |  PW | 

    73 – I’m not concerned with how you personally feel about the rights of a Klansman or a prostitute, or even if their case may be a legitimate one.

    What I’m saying is that it’s political SUICIDE to make people with baggage a poster child for your cause IF your goal is to sway the hearts and minds of the public.

    To use another example with the justice system, most normal, rational people will sympathize with a wrongly imprisoned victim of the state such as Cory Maye or Ryan Frederick if their stories are told. Not so if your poster boy is Mumia.

  76. #76 |  Jeremy | 

    PW, the lumpenconservatives you suck up to are never going to accept your libertarian ass. Stop it already.

  77. #77 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I tempted you on purpose with the “completely unrelated” modifier. I was hoping you’d throw up on it (you did) and now we have your premise:

    Your premise is that libertarians were wrong to defend her video statements from 25 years ago because she did some other bad things.

    Your premise is absurd because when you were a toddler you picked your nose. Omar and David can explain this for you.

  78. #78 |  PW | 

    Again Boyd, my premise is stated in #70 and it is nothing that you pretend it to be.

    My actual premise is we should not stick our necks out for Sherrod because her heavy baggage makes her cause unworthy of our time and capital. It also comes with a high risk of sharing in her embarrassment in lashing ourselves to her cause.

  79. #79 |  BSK | 


  80. #80 |  EH | 

    PW: LOL, 95%. Way to change the subject. You can just say “no” or “I don’t know” if you want.

  81. #81 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Boyd, she made those statements a couple of years ago regarding an incident that occurred 25 years ago. She didn’t make the statements 25 years ago, at least not that we know of.

    We know from the video that she is a racialist – that is, she sees everything through the prism of race. So, a *white* farmer comes to her, and he’s talking to her to convince her that he’s superior to her (even though he’s asking her for help) and she sends him to *one of his own* to help him. Sorry, most of us just don’t see the world in that way. Thank God.

    Libertarians were wrong to defend her because she stands against almost everything that we stand for.

  82. #82 |  Sean L. | 

    Xenia –

    I agree with you that Klan speech must be protected as well, but PW has a point about poster children;

    Take Joe the Plumber — He was supposed to be the poster child of conservative middle-America but he just ended up being an idiot.

    … wait a second..

  83. #83 |  David | 

    If someone stands against everything I stand for, that’s all the more reason not to attack them with lies. The truth should be enough.

  84. #84 |  xenia onatopp | 

    From a purely pragmatic, political point of view, I still have a real problem with choosing safe posterchildren for libertarian causes. If we choose to only defend publicly those examples that mainstream Republicans or Democrats are comfortable with, we are in essence saying “See, we’re not really any different from you.” That isn’t a message I can get behind, since it is nothing but craven pandering. At what point do you stop sugarcoating libertarianism in order to make it palatable?

  85. #85 |  PW | 

    #84 – I don’t disagree with the proposition that libertarians should take the position that is right over the one that is popular in practically any case. But there’s a big difference between doing that and going out of our way to actively take up the cause of a wholly unworthy individual with a lot of personal baggage.

    It’s the difference between being against the death penalty on behalf of a wrongly accused guy who gets exonerated on DNA evidence and being against the death penalty for Mumia. A libertarian can in good conscience say they are against the death penalty for both. But we damage our cause by wrapping ourselves up in the “Free Mumia” garbage.

    So it is with Sherrod as well. She’s a lousy human being. She’s a bottomfeeder who sponges off the public dole to the tune of millions of dollars. And regardless of the video’s editing, there’s a strong case to be made that she’s probably a racist based on her involvement in a fringe wacko black empowerment commune farm. All of the bad about her FAR outweighs that she was caught up in a stupid political stunt by Breitbart. And frankly, I’m happy Sherrod was fired because I’m offended that my tax dollars were paying the salary of such a horrible person.

    So yeah, maybe she did get snookered by Breitbart. I don’t have to approve of Breitbart to know that her firing was probably a good thing for liberty. If that makes me sound cruel, so be it but let me ask all of you defending her this:

    If Paul Krugman got strip searched by the TSA in the airport line would you jump to action on his behalf because he’s a victim of inept bureaucracy? If George Soros got smacked with a multimillion dollar fine from the IRS due to a tax form technicality, would you turn him into the poster child for your campaign against IRS abuse? If Hugo Chavez was pick pocketed on the streets of Caracas would you shed a tear because he was “wronged”?

    If not, then why all the gushing over a noxious scumbag like Sherrod?

  86. #86 |  Michael Chaney | 

    David, care to detail any of the “lies”? I’ve yet to see any.

  87. #87 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Libertarians were wrong to defend her because she stands against almost everything that we stand for.

    Yes, career government employee stands against libertarian ideals. I’ll still defend her against muggings, is that OK? I’ll also still point out crappy arguments that are crappy.

    I stand by my assertion that PW’s premise is flawed (#66 wins…omar has patience). If he wants to be an Internet smart guy and post an “I told you so” (I have no idea why this would be important to him or why he doesn’t address those people directly), he has to show a lot more horsepower than this. There’s enough talk on this site alone about cognitive bias, logic and fallacy, and general debate skills that he should either know better or sell his crazy somewhere else.

  88. #88 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    PW – Either the rule of law applies, or it does not. In fact, I’d prefer the law went out it’s way to follow it’s letter when it’s dealing with people who are generally unpleasant human beings, because it’s the best guarantee that I, who am pretty average, won’t have undue problems with them.

    Far better than a sense of entitlement should exist.

    I’m not saying I wouldn’t laugh if Krugman got strip searched by the TSA, but that doesn’t make their actions right or anything more than the security theatre they generally are either.

  89. #89 |  PW | 

    “I’ll still defend her against muggings, is that OK?”

    Fine by me, but she wasn’t mugged. Or anything even remotely close to it. Not even a lowly misdemeanor was committed against her. She was simply collateral in a media feeding frenzy – the same type of media frenzy that occurs somewhere almost every day in this country. It tarnished her reputation somewhat. But in a sense, she was simply on the receiving end of a small glimpse of what she’s been doing to the taxpayers for almost 40 years. Call it karma, schadenfreude, whatever. But she does not deserve any sympathy.

  90. #90 |  PW | 

    Leon – I’m not disputing that it would be a bad thing if Krugman had an encounter with a rubber glove at the TSA holding cell. I’m simply saying we must choose our battles and how we present them. Some people are worth sticking up for and making the poster child of our message. Krugman ain’t one of em. And neither is Shirley Sherrod.

  91. #91 |  M. Simon | 

    Posted already in an old thread. I think this deserves some current attention.

    A sign for the next Tea Party rally:


  92. #92 |  M. Simon | 

    “To make matters EVEN worse, we are funding historic economic GROWTH/PROFITS in the expansion of the government while also pouring trillions down holes (no economic return) called Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    You won’t know if they are ratholes unless something worse comes along.

    Just ask Britain and France if they should have taken an aggressive stance with Germany over the Rhineland incident of 1936. In 1936 the answer was no. What do you think they were saying in May of 1945?

    So it is an experiment to see what will happen. I suppose the risk of a much wider war is worth the savings. But you never know.

  93. #93 |  flukebucket | 

    If I had a say in the matter I’d probably eliminate upwards of 95% of all current jobs at the federal, state, and local government levels.

    Holy shit.

  94. #94 |  jrb | 

    Yeah, flukebucket, I thought that was a pretty low number too.

  95. #95 |  Bob | 

    I think this thread needs jackin’!

    Training exercise. Cop sees gun, shoots instinctively! Blows away fellow cop.

    This fine example of meathead with gun was in Jolly old England, but this is the caliber of training we get here, too.

    Training is all “Shoot, don’t shoot” There is no negotiation, no de-escalation. The target spins around and…

    Little girl with Teddy Bear! DON’T SHOOT!


    Man with gun! SHOOT!!

  96. #96 |  flukebucket | 

    Anybody have any idea what the unemployment rate would be if 95% of all government jobs were eliminated?

    That would include soldiers wouldn’t it? They are government employees aren’t they?

  97. #97 |  Mattocracy | 

    I don’t know if 95% need to go, but the private sector would be there to suck up the workers displaced by downsized government. You’d be amazed how fast the economy would grow if we got taxes and gov’t spending to reasonable levels. Look at the Eastern European countries that used to belong to the Soviet Union. They had a dramatic downsize in government and have the fastest growing economies on the continent.

    I also have no poblem reducing the size of our military. If it existed just for defense like it should, we wouldn’t need the huge numbers of troops we have now.

  98. #98 |  Pablo | 

    Another threadjack, from the We Could See This Coming Dept:

    Note that there are only misdemeanor “obstruction” charges, no felonies, which would indicate he was not armed or threatening anyone.

  99. #99 |  Aresen | 

    Radley: No posts for 48 hrs. Are you taking a (well-deserved) vacation?

    Not that I’m addicted to this site, no sirree! I can quit any time.

    *Grabs fingers to stop them from twitching*

  100. #100 |  Bob | 

    Radley: No posts for 48 hrs. Are you taking a (well-deserved) vacation?

    Not that I’m addicted to this site, no sirree! I can quit any time.

    *Grabs fingers to stop them from twitching*

    Yeah, What the Hell? I just need a dime bag man, just to get me over this slump.

  101. #101 |  Kristen | 

    He’s been posting links over at Reason, so, yeah – WTF? Jonesing HARD.

  102. #102 |  jrb | 

    I’m guessing it’s an experiment. He (or some internet psychologist) wants to see what will happen when we are deprived of blog posts. You know, stuff like withdrawal symptoms and how soon they begin and how soon we get over them (assuming we will). Also, how long does it take to send the comment section into complete chaos?

  103. #103 |  David | 

    How would we tell the difference?

  104. #104 |  Andrew S. | 

    I tell myself I shouldn’t visit here because Radley’s posts never fail to raise my blood pressure. Then I get the shakes when he doesn’t post for two whole days. I think that’s a sign of severe psychological issues.

  105. #105 |  omar | 

    Grab your tire-irons. I hear there’s an internet lynch mob forming to protest the departure of The Agitator.

  106. #106 |  flukebucket | 

    It ain’t a lynching unless you have ROPE!

  107. #107 |  Kristen | 

    I’m discovering that I now have a third addiction – this goddamned blog.* And here I thought I was doing so well!

    *(the other two being cigarettes & laziness)

  108. #108 |  JOR | 

    “That would include soldiers wouldn’t it? They are government employees aren’t they?”

    The harmless envelope-stuffers deserve a chance to try to make an honest living, but these were the guys who signed up to shoot people for the most corrupt criminal organization in the country. Whatever harm the paper shufflers, envelope stuffers, lawyers, and propagandists were able to do was because of the background threat of them being unleashed in force. So just dump them in the ocean or something. (The cops too. Federal enforcers included.)

  109. #109 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Speaking of Steven Slater, found this related ROFL-making story: