Morning Links

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
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72 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Bob | 

    In a panel discussion yesterday at Wake Forest University, Grish­am said he believes that the United States should put an end to the death penalty, require police to record interrogations and level the field between prosecutors and court-appointed defense attorneys.

    Bam! Give that man a Nobel Prize.

  2. #2 |  Bob | 

    A weird thing about Time Mart is that you can either be sure when you went there, or be sure of what you bought.

  3. #3 |  Nando | 

    Either the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Dept. released the greatest Onion-style prank or they’re dumb as a box of rocks.

  4. #4 |  omar | 

    The public saftey bulliten reminds me of this gem:

    Jenkem 4eva.

  5. #5 |  Ryan | 

    My neighbor is friends with one of the guys who runs the time travel store in LA. He visited there a month ago and brought back pics. I really like what they are doing there by mixing history and art. I wish them great success!

  6. #6 |  Aresen | 

    County harasses farmer for growing too much food.

    That is the most incredible story of stupid zoning laws I have ever read in my life.

  7. #7 |  otto e mezzo | 

    Prankster boots cop car!
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/09/lapd-squad-car-gets-the-boot-in-an-apparent-prank.html

    One commenter is claiming the car was illegally parked.

  8. #8 |  André | 

    The Pedobear thing still isn’t as good as the Jenkem hoax when Fox News picked up on that.

  9. #9 |  PeeDub | 

    I prefer Uncle Creepy to Pedobear.

    http://cheezfailbooking.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/april-fools-unclecreepy.jpg?w=432&h=432

  10. #10 |  derfel cadarn | 

    Is it even possible to grow to much food? Seems it is possible for the gubermint to be to stupid.perhaps we could go back in time and rescue humanity from itself. I long for the ability to go and smack every moron out there hopefully stimulating the function of a second brain cell but alas a visit of the swat team of stupid would be the only result.

  11. #11 |  Chris in AL | 

    Time Mart is a scam. I just did an experiment from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and decided to remember to go back in time to yesterday, visit Time Mart, and buy a can of Mammoth Chunks and put them in my desk drawer. Nothing! It is a rip off.

  12. #12 |  Chris in AL | 

    UPDATE: Nevermind, they just showed up! Forgot I did it at 11:32 am. Cool!

  13. #13 |  SJE | 

    Other news:
    Good news from PG County, MD. The Sheriff (famous for dog killing, among other things) was running for County Executive, and was endorsed by the former Exec. Jack Johnson. He lost to another candidate who ran on a campaign of cleaning up the corruption.

  14. #14 |  Joe | 

    I think I need a…prescription…to fully enjoy the Burroughs Page interview.

  15. #15 |  JS | 

    SJE thank you! Honestly I’m starving for some good news and that is good news. Of course Cynical or Dave Krueger should be here to pop my bubble in 3…2…1

  16. #16 |  fwb | 

    Thank God there weren’t any dogs at the gun shop!!

  17. #17 |  Aaron | 

    Growing too many crops? Shades of Wickard v. Filburn.

  18. #18 |  Jim Collins | 

    You have to draw the line between a personal garden and a commercial farm somewhere. If he’s employing people to work in his garden and then selling what is produced in that garden, then it is a commercial farm.

  19. #19 |  Brandon | 

    Is there anything to which the police would not respond “in force” anymore?

  20. #20 |  Brandon | 

    Jim: Why?

  21. #21 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Grisham spent 18 months researching the man’s story, which became his only work of nonfiction to date, The Innocent Man.”

    More power to him on the anti-death penalty vibe, but these
    elementary school- simplistic titles Grisham keeps come coming up with
    are starting to bug me. Whatever happened to poetic titles like
    A Farewell to Arms..Or The Sound and the Fury? Dammit.

  22. #22 |  Extended Warren T | 

    More cop follies.

    Kid wearing costume nearly capped by cop!

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100914/ap_on_fe_st/us_odd_scary_teen

    As Barely Suppressed Rage said at H&R:

    “Good thing the kid wasn’t wearing a dog costume.”

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Jenkem takes the top award. But, Pedobear turns up globally…almost as funny as Bert (Ernie’s partner) turning up on pro-Osama Bin Laden posters in far-away places.

    Reddit had a pranks post recently and I’m sure several will turn up in the news soon. Freakin’ reddit seeds almost everything that happens in the world now.

    Gonna score some butthash now…

  24. #24 |  Blakenator | 

    The SLO sheriff’s office is typical of late model law enforcement: Point out the error of their ways and they just “double down” with the old Gilda Radner character line from SNL, “it could happen.”
    The Oregon episode is further proof of the militaristic attitude also prevalent these days. A little investigation, like maybe a phone call to the place, would have been much easier. As it stood, the actual response just set up a potential deadly episode in which an innocent walked out of the store with a gun and got shot by a crowd of police “who followed procedures and did nothing wrong.”
    Where is the teabagger outrage at the government interference in our lives in the Georgia crop abuse case?

  25. #25 |  Charlie O | 

    The Oregon story is a good example of exactly how stupid police departments are. No common sense among any of them. You’d have to be an even bigger moron to hold up a gun store. I have never been in a gun shop where every single clerk wasn’t strapped. Pretty common in pawn shops as well. Do cops EVER stop and think anything through before acting?

  26. #26 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    You have to draw the line between a personal garden and a commercial farm somewhere.

    Yes, because none of us want our neighbor to store nuclear waste in his yard…and Nazis. Amiright?

  27. #27 |  JS | 

    Jim Collins “If he’s employing people to work in his garden and then selling what is produced in that garden, then it is a commercial farm.”

    So why is that any of the government’s business?

  28. #28 |  Jozef | 

    There was a Pedobear on this year’s DragonCon. The kids loved him!

  29. #29 |  DarkEFang | 

    Call me a nazi, but I’d like to think I have some recourse if a neighbor in my suburban neighborhood decides to start a hog farm in his yard, reducing my property’s value by 95%.

  30. #30 |  Highway | 

    DarkEFang, so then prove that he’s damaging you and collect those damages. Don’t presuppose that whatever someone wants to do has to get approved by you.

  31. #31 |  JS | 

    DarkEFang, false analogy. Obviously a yard in a suburban neighborhood isn’t in danger of being turned into a hog farm. What it sounds like your’e saying is that my property values trump your freedom, which seems to be the prevailing consensus in America today. I don’t think anyone is even trying to find a balance anymore I think it’s find some pragmatic reason such as property values and then regulate people’s freedom away.

  32. #32 |  bobzbob | 

    “Either the San Luis Obispo Sheriff’s Dept. released the greatest Onion-style prank or they’re dumb as a box of rocks.”

    It seems that the Onion has strayed into straight news reporting:
    http://www.theonion.com/articles/nation-once-again-comes-under-sway-of-pinkfaced-ha,18076/

  33. #33 |  random guy | 

    Dark-

    You’re a Nazi.

    1) Its not a hog farm in suburbia, its a large garden on a two acre lot.
    2) His neighbors are quoted in the article as having no problem with his garden (because he likely gives away some of it to said neighbors)
    3) The county shut him down until his property was rezoned.
    4) AFTER rezoning the county is still pursing charges and fines.

    And really this last one has no number because it should go with out saying: READ ARTICLES BEFORE COMMENTING.

    By this account (which may be incomplete) this guy just had a large garden. He gives away some of his food and sells some at a farmers market. The article doesn’t state his age but he mentions hes been doing this for 15 years and apparently has some people help him maintain the garden, if/how much he pays these people isn’t mentioned.

    What is clear is that for 15 years he apparently carried on without harming anyone or giving anyone cause for concern. Until some bureaucrat decided that he was breaking some arbitrary government rule and decided to extort some money from him.

    No harm, no crime, just extortion.

  34. #34 |  Mike | 

    “Until some bureaucrat decided that he was breaking some arbitrary government rule and decided to extort some money from him.

    No harm, no crime, just extortion.”

    Win.

  35. #35 |  JS | 

    random guy “No harm, no crime, just extortion.”

    Nicely put. The whole post really but I loved that last line.

  36. #36 |  Bob | 

    Jim Collins:

    You have to draw the line between a personal garden and a commercial farm somewhere. If he’s employing people to work in his garden and then selling what is produced in that garden, then it is a commercial farm.

    I’d be the first person here to point out that zoning restrictions are there for a reason, but this case is weak.

    The guy only has 2 acres. That’s a tiny plot of land. Even if he has ‘employees’, there would not be enough of them to tax the required sewage requirements for the property, or cause parking issues.

    Next, he’s planting vegetables, not raising livestock. The issue with livestock is that they produce copious waste products and are noisy / smelly… but vegetables are none of the above. It’s simply not possible, under normal conditions, to grow enough plants on 2 acres to exceed the spirit of zoning laws.

    Unless there is some grievous reason otherwise, I see no reason for the local regulatory people to not grant the guy a zoning exception as part of the rezoning.

  37. #37 |  Marty | 

    while they didn’t boot this cop, it seems more people are fed up with cops doing as they please…

    http://www.kmov.com/news/local/Maryland-Heights-officer-parks-in-no-parking-zone-at-Subway-102969054.html

  38. #38 |  BamBam | 

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/09/portland_police_union_decrys_p.html

    “What cannot happen is for Portland police officers to face termination and substantial discipline for doing their jobs correctly,” said a release from the Portland Police Association today. “If that occurs, as it has today, public safety is deeply compromised.”

    He has it backwards due to ego; public safety would be deeply improved.

  39. #39 |  Bob | 

    Highway:

    DarkEFang, so then prove that he’s damaging you and collect those damages. Don’t presuppose that whatever someone wants to do has to get approved by you.

    This is the reason for zoning laws.

    For the sake of argument, let’s say there were no zoning laws and your suburban neighbor buys up 2 adjacent houses, then tears them down and builds a pig farm. It smells, it’s noisy. You hate it.

    How do you PROVE that you are being ‘harmed’ by this? Property values dropped? How do you prove the correlation? Were you physically injured? No, just inconvenienced. Are you willing to pay what you need to pay to prove that you were harmed? Remember, you must PROVE that it was this guy’s pig farm that caused prices to drop. Not the economy, not the Disco down the street, not the cars parked there to get their hair cut at the Barber shop.

    Enter Zoning laws. All you have to do to prove your case is point out the fact that the property is zoned residential.

    There is wiggle room in Zoning laws, if your usage is slightly iffy, then you can apply for an exception.

    Zoning laws, Permit requirements… these ordinances set up ‘boundries’ to both prevent an endless stream of petty cases clogging up courts and providing a means to quickly determine when an actual violation has occurred.

    In some cases, like this guy’s garden, an exception is in order. The system allows for that, assuming that the people elected to monitor the ordinances aren’t total Nazis. And if THAT happens, there are mechanics in place to remove them from office.

  40. #40 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “I mean, for instance, the other night we played in the Philadelphia Spectrum, which really is a black hole as a concert hall….The security there is the most ugly of anywhere in the States. I saw this incident happen and I was almost physically sick.” — Jimmy Page

    Some things never change.

  41. #41 |  Bob | 

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2010/09/portland_police_union_decrys_p.html

    “What cannot happen is for Portland police officers to face termination and substantial discipline for doing their jobs correctly,” said a release from the Portland Police Association today. “If that occurs, as it has today, public safety is deeply compromised.”

    He has it backwards due to ego; public safety would be deeply improved.

    Basically, they cornered this guy like an animal and executed him. Somehow, I don’t think “To serve and protect” means “To drive into a corner and kill”. Fuck the Portland Police Association.

  42. #42 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    I see a need to start a “Suburban Hog-Farm” franchise. Let’s see, according to the internets, 7-11 sows per acre is considered ok (free range, not high density, I’m not cruel). Now, for a 1/3 rd acre residential lot, only about 1/2 or 1/3 doesn’t have a house, garage or driveway on it…so…I’ll need, well, a slab of bacon, two hams, some ribs and a few chops to meet that ratio.

    Yeah, starting hog farms in residential neighborhoods is not an apt simile.

  43. #43 |  bobzbob | 

    “Next, he’s planting vegetables, not raising livestock. The issue with livestock is that they produce copious waste products and are noisy / smelly… but vegetables are none of the above. It’s simply not possible, under normal conditions, to grow enough plants on 2 acres to exceed the spirit of zoning laws.”

    Wait just a second- I’m not saying its the case here, but it is the NORM in this country that vegetables are grown commercially using large amounts of pesticides that would pose a hazard to nearby residents, especially children. Lovely delicious innocuous strawberries are grown by first sterilizing the soil with the poisonous methyl bromide, for example.

    To simply assume that a vegetable operation can’t be noxious is false.

  44. #44 |  SamK | 

    Fertilizer…soil runoff/erosion…water usage…rotting castoff…traffic…noise…
    All things that make large scale growing operations a zoning issue and good reasons to restrict commercial farming to its appropriate zone.

    ‘Course those of us living in small towns know this guy was targeted because he pissed somebody off, not because he had one too many plants. Wonder whose produce looked like shit next to his at the market and complained to uncle zoningdude?

    Oh, and be nice. Jim made a reasonable argument that employees and sales should justify calling the two acre garden a zoned commercial operation. I tend to think it means he pays the kids on his block to pick figs and try not to eat too many…and that he manages to make some cash to pay for his big gardening hobby…but that doesn’t mean we need to prove Godwin right. Less hyperbole, more substance please; we’re agitators, not politicians. (like pointing out that my anecdotal small town evidence is invalid)

  45. #45 |  DarkEFang | 

    #33 Random Guy -

    “1) Its not a hog farm in suburbia, its a large garden on a two acre lot.
    2) His neighbors are quoted in the article as having no problem with his garden (because he likely gives away some of it to said neighbors)
    3) The county shut him down until his property was rezoned.
    4) AFTER rezoning the county is still pursing charges and fines.

    And really this last one has no number because it should go with out saying: READ ARTICLES BEFORE COMMENTING.”

    Thanks for your concern, but I did read the article. My comment was in regards to the following:

    #18 Jim Collins -
    “You have to draw the line between a personal garden and a commercial farm somewhere. If he’s employing people to work in his garden and then selling what is produced in that garden, then it is a commercial farm.”

    #27 JS –
    “So why is that any of the government’s business?”

    My point is that there is a real difference between a commercial farm and somebody’s backyard garden. Commercial farms have a significant impact on the land around them. Pig farming obviously has a huge impact on the local area, but all large-scale farming has some kind of repercussion on neighboring lands. Pesticides/chemicals, fecal matter, bacteria and rodent infestations are all common farm by-products that run off onto adjoining land and water resources.

    #31 JS –

    Obviously a yard in a suburban neighborhood isn’t in danger of being turned into a hog farm. What it sounds like your’e saying is that my property values trump your freedom, which seems to be the prevailing consensus in America today.

    Again, I’m not referring to the article, in which the neighbors obviously had no problem with the person’s gardening/farming activities. My comments are in reference to the bigger discussion in the comments section. And what I’m saying is that your freedom ends when it trumps my freedom of life, liberty and property. These kinds of situations can be handled in two ways:

    1. We can elect an arbiter of land disputes (the zoning board) that can determine whether or not a person’s land use causes injury to his neighbors.

    2. Or we can settle these disputes by hiring gunslingers to shoot at each others property until one of us leaves town.

    While the second option is more fun to watch on Saturday afternoons, an honest-to-goodness actual legitimate purpose of local government is to settle disputes between neighbors non-violently.

  46. #46 |  Bob | 

    bobzbob:

    To simply assume that a vegetable operation can’t be noxious is false.

    That was covered through proper channels, he runs an organic operation and was granted a zoning variance. It should be case closed. The issue is the local regulators are still going ahead with fines from before it was rezoned. The guy’s lawyer is correct, the fines should be dropped.

  47. #47 |  DarkEFang | 

    Oops – there’s a typo above. The sentence should read:

    “And what I’m saying is that your freedom ends when it trumps my rights of life, liberty and property. “

  48. #48 |  pam | 

    garden story:

    it’s not about the food, it’s about the fine. Government for profit.

  49. #49 |  DarkEFang | 

    #44 SamK –

    “‘Course those of us living in small towns know this guy was targeted because he pissed somebody off, not because he had one too many plants. Wonder whose produce looked like shit next to his at the market and complained to uncle zoningdude?”

    Considering the hubbub presently being stirred up in Atlanta by local personalities accusing illegal immigrants of bankrupting the state, my guess is that the people helping him with his garden must have looked Hispanic (and therefore illegal).

  50. #50 |  omar | 

    I’m a DeKalb county resident these days. My* unofficial neighbourhood association has been trying to shut down the local “made in the shade” mechanics working at an empty lot in a residential area off Moreland Ave. I wish the county enforcement would try a little harder with those guys than some organic farmer.

    Then again, city of Atlanta just got new parking enforcement cars to drive around the area and ticket people parked in the wrong direction in front of their own homes. I know where their priorities lie.

    *I don’t have any problem with people working in the street – zoning or not. The problem is these dudes have been discarding car parts and dumping oil all over the place. It’s the harm, not the lack of paperwork, that’s the problem.

  51. #51 |  JS | 

    DarkEFang “And what I’m saying is that your freedom ends when it trumps my rights of life, liberty and property. “

    I don’t think that property values is worthy oreven close to being compared to life, liberty or property itself.

  52. #52 |  Aresen | 

    pam | September 15th, 2010 at 3:28 pm
    garden story:

    it’s not about the food, it’s about the fine. Government for profit.

    Not sure about that. I think the paperwork would cost more than the $5000 fine.

    I think it has more to do with petty bureaucratic power-tripping.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a competitor lurking in the background pushing this thing.

  53. #53 |  Mattocracy | 

    Why is there all this talk of a commercial operation on two acres of land? How many corporate farms are running on a measly two acres? Um…somewhere right around 0 I suspect. Becuase no commercial operation is going to waste it’s time on such piddly amount of land.

    So please don’t refer to this garden a commerical operation because it is far from it.

    I doubt that the pesticides or fertilizer is harming the lawns of his neighbors. And that’s if he’s even using any. If that was the case, then they’d probably say so in the article instead defending him. Let’s just try to keep this whole thing in perspective here.

  54. #54 |  Brandon | 

    “Again, I’m not referring to the article, in which the neighbors obviously had no problem with the person’s gardening/farming activities. My comments are in reference to the bigger discussion in the comments section. And what I’m saying is that your freedom ends when it trumps my freedom of life, liberty and property. These kinds of situations can be handled in two ways:

    1. We can elect an arbiter of land disputes (the zoning board) that can determine whether or not a person’s land use causes injury to his neighbors.

    2. Or we can settle these disputes by hiring gunslingers to shoot at each others property until one of us leaves town.

    While the second option is more fun to watch on Saturday afternoons, an honest-to-goodness actual legitimate purpose of local government is to settle disputes between neighbors non-violently.”

    False dichotomy, DEF. There’s also the “government stays the hell out of it unless there is a specific complaint” option. Allowing government to have control over other peoples’ property to the extent that zoning laws do inevitably leads to creep and escalation, to the point where innocent people are harassed and prosecuted by unaccountable bureaucrats for something he’s been doing peacefully and without incident for 15 years. The people participating in the discussion here (and the victim in this case) are reasonable entities; Government is not.

  55. #55 |  ClassAction | 

    #45

    There’s a big difference between “property” and your “property value.” Your property is what legitimately belongs to you. Your property value is what other people are willing to pay for what legitimately belongs to you. You have a right to the former, but you don’t have a right to the latter, because you don’t have a right to force people to value your property in a certain way.

    You also confuse the legitimate ENDS of a “night watchman state” with what MEANS are appropriate to such a state. It’s true, if you believe in Nozickian limited government, that one of the few legitimate purposes of government is to settle disputes among neighbors. What’s NOT true, however, is that a legitimate METHOD of settling disputes is just to allow one group of landowners to coerce another into using their property in a certain way. That’s just, you know, majoritarian democracy. Even a totalitarian country can have as a legitimate goal “settling disputes among neighbors” – it’s just that the means they use to achieve that are illegitimate.

  56. #56 |  JS | 

    ClassAction “There’s a big difference between “property” and your “property value.” Your property is what legitimately belongs to you. Your property value is what other people are willing to pay for what legitimately belongs to you. You have a right to the former, but you don’t have a right to the latter, because you don’t have a right to force people to value your property in a certain way.”

    Well put! I was gonna say, you have a right to do what you want with your property (in this case the gardener/farmer) but you do not have a right to force others to do things that will preserve or increase the value of your property. And yet, this is what most of our city and county governments act like almost all the time! This basic principle, if understood, would have prevented so many abuses and so much petty tyranny from local governments.

  57. #57 |  Mark Z. | 

    ClassAction: So local government A says “Here is a regulation that should cover the more common cases of land use, with the goal of letting everyone know what to expect. If you don’t think your case is covered, you can apply for a variance.”

    Local government B says “Build whatever you want wherever you want, and then if someone obstructs your use of your property* with noise or traffic or toxic chemicals, you can sue them, and then we’ll arbitrarily decide if you have to move your million-dollar elementary school or they have to tear down their million-dollar paper mill.”

    Why is B legitimate, and not A? They offer the same degree of freedom; the difference is that A tells you up front where the limits are, while B makes you wait until the harm actually occurs, and then decides whose freedom to restrict.

    * This, not market value, is the real issue. You don’t have an obligation to maintain your neighbor’s property’s resale value. But you also don’t have the right to make him breathe your industrial fumes. The change in property value is how we quantify the harm done to the present owner of the property.

  58. #58 |  Highway | 

    #47 | DarkEFang | September 15th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Oops – there’s a typo above. The sentence should read:

    “And what I’m saying is that your freedom ends when it trumps my rights of life, liberty and property. “

    I wonder if you note the irony that you’re actually advocating the ending of the other person’s right of property in the name of your own right of property. So you’re saying that your right to your property trumps the other guy’s right to his property.

    Might want to rethink that a bit.

  59. #59 |  Ace_of_Spades | 

    County Sues Farmer, Cites Too Many Crops

    Reminds me of this story out of Coralville, IA. Some of the comments are interesting, and contradict the city’s assertion that her business has changed since grandfathered. Other comments support the “follow the rules like everybody else” line of thought. Welcome to the Union of Soviet Socialist States.

    Coralville Flower Seller Faces Shutdown Order

    http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Coralville-Flower-Seller-Faces-Shutdown-Order–98101619.html

  60. #60 |  MDGuy | 

    Mark Z.: The big difference between your two scenarios that I see is that government A places immediate and definite limits on freedom before-the-fact in an attempt to deal with the potential for disputes between landowners. Yes, in any society disputes between landowners are an inevitability in the general sense; but the chance of conflict between any two given individuals is far from certain (I’d go so far as to say unlikely in the majority of cases). So what you have with gov’t A is a certain restriction on freedom for everyone merely because of the future possibility of conflict between some landowners somewhere, at some time.

    In a way “perennial” proponents (not an accusation at you Mark Z.) of more regulation remind me of my professors at college during one particularly difficult semester: each one would assign a few hundred pages of reading, always explaining to us that they found it a perfectly reasonable amount to get through…except that they never really took into account that our other professors were all assigning “perfectly reasonable” amounts of reading as well. The end result was that it was virtually impossible to get all your reading done between classes. In a college setting I think that “impossible-situation” was a valuable lesson in priorities and multi-tasking; when the stakes are heavy fines or possible jail-time it’s different. Proposed regulation is always sold as “perfectly reasonable” without taking into account the massive pile of regulation already on the books and the massive pile still to come and the resulting fact that it’s virtually impossible to comply with it all. It ends up being an arbitrary game of which ones are going to be enforced and whose going to get caught.

  61. #61 |  DarkEFang | 

    #54 Brandon –

    “False dichotomy, DEF. There’s also the “government stays the hell out of it unless there is a specific complaint” option. Allowing government to have control over other peoples’ property to the extent that zoning laws do inevitably leads to creep and escalation, to the point where innocent people are harassed and prosecuted by unaccountable bureaucrats for something he’s been doing peacefully and without incident for 15 years. The people participating in the discussion here (and the victim in this case) are reasonable entities; Government is not.”

    I’d agree that zoning boards shouldn’t act without a specific complaint. And I’d guarantee that in the case of the farmer above, there was a complaint. SamK suspects that it was a jealous competitor with pull on the zoning board. I think it could be related to the anti-immigration frenzy being stirred up in Atlanta. Obviously, this zoning board’s harassment is well beyond their legitimate purview.

    #55 Class Action –

    “…What’s NOT true, however, is that a legitimate METHOD of settling disputes is just to allow one group of landowners to coerce another into using their property in a certain way. That’s just, you know, majoritarian democracy… “

    #58 Highway –

    “I wonder if you note the irony that you’re actually advocating the ending of the other person’s right of property in the name of your own right of property. So you’re saying that your right to your property trumps the other guy’s right to his property.

    Might want to rethink that a bit.”

    I’m not saying that a group of landowners should be able to mandate exactly how an individual must use their land. And I’m certainly not for any of that homeowner’s association BS like banning pickup trucks from the driveway or fining people for having grass half an inch too tall. What I do expect is basic protection of my own property. If my neighbors are polluting my property with motor oil, fecal matter or toxic gas, you’re damned right my rights trump theirs.

  62. #62 |  random guy | 

    To expand upon MDGuy’s point, even saying screw it to local and state laws is anyone in this country really aware of the shear volume of federal laws on the books? I’ve seen estimates totaling over 40,000 and its always estimates because the totality of the law has become so much greater than its parts that it is literally impossible for a person to determine whether or not a given act is technically illegal.

    There are hundreds of agencies with contradictory priorities, poor or nonexistent inter-departmental communication, and it appears that even the people tasked with enforcement are incapable of keeping the laws straight.

    Add to that State and Local laws, and for those few poor unfortunate souls, the petty tyrannies of HOAs, and you reach a point where compliance with the law is, at best, an approximation and never a certainty.

    Im not much of a fan of Rand’s, but one point she made was that the only claim a legitimate government can have over a person is when that person has committed a crime. The shortcut to tyranny then is to make so many laws of such a vague nature that government then has a ‘legitimate’ claim on anyone.

    Right now Im living in a home that doesn’t pass building codes. I own a car that doesn’t meet state and federal requirements. And on any given day I probably violate a half a dozen statutes regarding traffic and tax laws. This sounds terrible to the literal minded, but the reality is that everyone does the exact same thing, no one suffers any harm mind you, but we are all criminals according to the letter of the law. The degree to which we suffer for these ‘crimes’ is purely at the discretion of the agents enforcing them.

    Some argue that such discretion is necessary, that it allows the law enforcers to ignore minor violations and focus on the serious threats. I personally believe that if a criminal act is determined by discretion, then the definition of crime becomes meaningless. A law that can’t or shouldn’t be enforced 100% of the time is a bad law.

  63. #63 |  JS | 

    Also DarkEFang, Perhaps I’m wrong because I’m not experienced in any of this as I’m not a property owner or anything but I don’t see how having a neighbor with a couple of acres unused versus a couple of acres being productive would affect my property values anyway. It’s not a hog farm and I see no reason why it would cause you to lose property value.

  64. #64 |  JS | 

    random guy “Im not much of a fan of Rand’s, but one point she made was that the only claim a legitimate government can have over a person is when that person has committed a crime. The shortcut to tyranny then is to make so many laws of such a vague nature that government then has a ‘legitimate’ claim on anyone.”

    Exactly why America is a nascent police state!

  65. #65 |  OBTC | 

    Ace_of_Spades:

    “Kessler said the shutdown order was prompted by a Coralville police complaint about a truck delivering flowers to Edwards that was blocking a lane of traffic.”

    Suprise, suprise.

  66. #66 |  Stephen | 

    OT: this one is interesting because the cops actually face criminal charges.

    http://www.wfaa.com/news/crime/Officers-in-Dallas-beating-to-face-criminal-charges-102991464.html

  67. #67 |  damaged justice | 

    “…you’re damned right my rights trump theirs”

    No, they do not, because there is no such thing as the right to violate someone else’s rights.

  68. #68 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Exactly why America is a nascent police state!

    Nascent?

  69. #69 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Zoning is certainly a hot button (because of all the nuclear-waste dumping and the Nazi problem) for even freedom-inclined individuals. I know everyone can use Google, but here are two good articles on the topic:
    One from Mises.com: http://mises.org/daily/4264

    A little better one from the Libertarians: http://blog.libertarian.org.au/2009/06/29/how-zoning-rules-would-work-in-a-free-society/

  70. #70 |  SamK | 

    Justice, the point is that rights have limits. This is where other’s rights begin. Standing up for your own rights do not violate another’s, it points out their mistaken belief in the absolute nature of their right to do whatever they wish.

    Rights trumping other rights is not violation of those rights, it’s putting them in the proper perspective. The extreme example of this is the right to not be murdered trumps the right to murder. I’m stopping there, don’t want this to devolve into another forty page discussion about what “right” actually means. An it harm none, do what ye will.

  71. #71 |  DarkEFang | 

    #63 JS –

    “Perhaps I’m wrong because I’m not experienced in any of this as I’m not a property owner or anything but I don’t see how having a neighbor with a couple of acres unused versus a couple of acres being productive would affect my property values anyway. It’s not a hog farm and I see no reason why it would cause you to lose property value.”

    When I talk about defending my rights, what I’m mostly interested in is preventing a catastrophic loss of value, i.e., a loss of around half or more of value. Fluctuations of 10% or 20% can happen regardless of any influence your neighbor might have on property values.

  72. #72 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    A valid concern, Fang. Is government controlled zoning the only solution?

    Isn’t your neighbor also concerned about loss of property value? Won’t that factor into how he uses HIS property?

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