Saturday Links

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

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82 Responses to “Saturday Links”

  1. #1 |  croaker | 

    @45 The difference between this situation and WU is that the cops in this case (and many others) are demonstrably wrong, but will not be held accountable for their actions due to union contract and other shields.

    There have been situations, unfortunately rare, where cops have kicked in the wrong door, been shot and killed for doing so, and been told by a judge or jury to suck it up. More often, they get medals for “restraint”, in that they didn’t just shoot everyone in the house and burn it down around their corpses. This only serve to encourage the jack-booted government thugs.

  2. #2 |  croaker | 

    Government thug violates NY open meetings law, and cops help.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/10/21/2010-10-21_charter_hearing_gets_ugly_over_vid_bid.html

  3. #3 |  Gonzo | 

    Yeesh, there’s a lot of stupid stupid-ing about in that David Brooks article, but my favorite line is the one about historical friendships always being of the one-on-one variety.

    Just look at the Bible! Ruth and Naomi, as he mentions.

    Or like Jesus and his one Apostle!

    I think his name was ‘Gary.’

  4. #4 |  JOR | 

    “Unfortunately, any open, unabashed resistance to the police will just bolster their public image as the “thin blue line” between order and chaos.”

    Well, a person here and there killing a pig who’s up to no good, yes. If enough people do it, though, pretty soon it’ll lead to personnel problems for the cops, regardless of public opinion. And of course if public opinion itself shifted enough to make widespread open resistance possible, then it wouldn’t be much of a problem. It’d get ugly before it got pretty, but it’s going to get ugly anyway.

    The main issue with all this, of course, is a collective action problem. The cops are a concentrated interest; innocent folks who are likely to be raided and abused are a more dissipated interest (and composed largely of subgroups who hate each other – gun nuts, antiwar protestors, urban black folks, prostitutes, drug hustlers, tea party conservatives, illegal immigrants or at least people that look brown enough to be confused for them, etc.). As some anarchists have noted, keeping the state in line is the ultimate public goods problem.

  5. #5 |  Cyto | 

    I really liked the “Muslims wearing things” photo-blog. It was well done and interesting. It was also quite obtuse in (probably intentionally) misrepresenting what Juan Williams said.

    The entire premise of Williams comments was that Muslims who choose to represent themselves in public as a particular brand of Muslim by wearing traditional Muslim garb communicate certain things about their attitudes and beliefs. Holding up examples of Muslims who do not choose to do so is a canard.

    Counter-example for clarity: If I said that when a bunch of big white guys in biker gear walk into my local pub, I get nervous, it would not be a coherent or intelligent argument to show me a sequence of big white guys wearing basketball uniforms, football uniforms and business suits.

  6. #6 |  Dave W. | 

    If i was the DOD i would say “Wikileaks, keep them coming”.

    I would say, “how has nobody figured out its us yet.”

  7. #7 |  omar | 

    The entire premise of Williams comments was that Muslims who choose to represent themselves in public as a particular brand of Muslim by wearing traditional Muslim garb communicate certain things about their attitudes and beliefs.

    Cyto,

    The problem with this reasoning is that you and I as westerners have no idea what the message foreign folks in different clothes are trying to communicate. It’s way different than white dudes in a biker bar – we are Americans raised in American culture. We know what it means to be a big white biker dude. But you and I were not raised in Bahrain, and despite what we know from TV, we really have no idea what people in “Muslim garb” are trying to communicate. A lot of it is fashion, and what communicates religious piety in Kirachi may communicate high fashion in Cairo or ethnic identity on Arab Street in Singapore.

  8. #8 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    WIKIleaks…
    Daniel Ellsberg says it best–the real threat to lives
    (the line the Masters of War keep regurgitating) is perpetuating the war, not releasing Documents pertaining to the War and all its abuses and cover-ups
    .
    Hard to (pretend to ) be sanctimonious or worried about justice or safety
    when the rationale for War (WMD) ended up being a lie. You just end
    up on the wrong side of history.

  9. #9 |  qwints | 

    I apologize for not further explaining my point, but I really do support the fair housing act enforcement which I know places me in opposition to the libertarian position. I think that since people are forced to live and work together in order to survive in modern (or really any) society it is necessary to ensure that people are not unfairly excluded from a community. There really did exist places where blacks and hispanics were prevented from living by law, violence, contract or custom. All of these were wrong. In Austin, where I live, the city literally planned for all minorities to live in East Austin. Many developers placed restrictive covenants on their properties prohibiting sale to non-whites. As a consequence, Austin remains de facto segregated with all that implies for community relations and public schools.

    Segregated communities are unstable. Race riots happened repeatedly throughout the 20th century. Extremely segregated societies like the antebellum American South and South Africe saw full scale rebellion. Less dramatically, it also dramatically hinders the opportunities of those born into the segregated group. As someone who wants to avoid violence and believes in the possibility of social mobility, I’m concerned by these problems.

    There are a number of good solutions to de facto segregation. Some I imagine that most on this site would support – school choice and individuals speaking out against racism. Others may enjoy mixed support – such as courts refusing to enforce private contracts seeking to exclude a group from a neighborhood. Finally there are two I expect very few to support – the Community Reinvestment Act and the Fair Housing Act.

    Location is a vital part of the human experience. Denying someone the ability to live where they choose due to their race or religion is wrong and I support the government taking away the right of landlords to discriminate just as I support the government infringing the right of resteraunt owners to discriminate. The Fair Housing Act does not apply to owner-occupied housing of less than 4 units – thus avoiding forcing someone to choose who they live with EXCEPT that people may not publish discriminatory advertisements. Such discrimination has a long and sad history in this countrty (Whites-Only, No Irish Need Apply) and the drastic remedy of infringing freedom is a necessary evil to prevent the worse evil of institutionalized racism or discrimination towards religion.

  10. #10 |  Lucy | 

    I don’t think any man can stand the strain of playing Randy Weaver AND a paranoid hillbilly abducted by aliens without cracking.

    To be fair, both of those men were kind of right in the end, weren’t they?

    (Errr, though not about evil Jews running the world, etc.)

  11. #11 |  TC | 

    http://blog.al.com/live/2010/10/3_men_posing_as_atf_agents_bre.html

    3 men posing as ATF agents break into home, kill resident

    More ,,, Copy Kat Killings!!!!!

  12. #12 |  Cyto | 

    #56 Omar –
    True, but this is othagonal to the argument being made by the photo essay. They are making the statement “not all Muslims wear ‘Muslim garb’ as would be identified by westerners.”

    Williams was making the argument “people who wear attire designed to label themselves as a member of the Islamic community cause me to feel nervous on airplanes. However, we should not let this reaction in any way cause us to discriminate against Muslims or people who wear ‘Muslim garb’.”

    Arguing that “those people shouldn’t make you feel nervous” is at least closer to the mark, although it also completely misses the point the Williams was trying to make – in fact it pretty much imputes an argument that is exactly opposed to his point.

    As to your point about cultural differences affecting our understanding of fashion, I couldn’t agree more. hasidic jews always reminded me of Amish farmers, so I mentally had an image of them as non-violent conscientious objector religious types. Apparently this is not entirely correct.

  13. #13 |  RWW | 

    Shorter version of qwints’ latest comment:

    The use of government violence to discriminate against certain groups in the past was correlated with all sorts of bad events (and vaguely-defined societal problems), so let’s use government violence to discriminate in favor of those groups now.

  14. #14 |  qwints | 

    RWW, that’s pretty much my position. I would only add that extra-legal non-government violence and voluntary non-association also contributed to those bad events and societal problems.

  15. #15 |  RWW | 

    Now, aside from the fact that saying “it’s wrong” is not sufficient justification to outlaw an activity, and even though I agree that race- and religion-based discrimation usually is wrong in some sense, I think it’s worth pointing out that there are sometimes perfectly rational and acceptable reasons to discriminate on such a basis. See, for example, http://mises.org/daily/3545

  16. #16 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Dave Guy, the mean Irish lady is Maureen Dowd. As for Red Lobster, I don’t get that one.

  17. #17 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #45 | Joe — “Good to see the anarchist contingent of the Agitator speaking up.”

    Wrong, Joe. Anarchists never advocate violence, with the very narrow exception of immediate self-defense.

    I don’t know what you want to call the person who wrote what you were commenting about (violent vengeful thug?), but “anarchist” is not acceptable.

    Though there are examples of English words meaning one thing and its opposite (sanction, apologize, e.g.), in the case of “anarchist” it is very clumsy, as the word itself means “no ruler,” the ruler in this case exercising a monopoly on violence in a given geographic area.

  18. #18 |  omar | 

    True, but this is othagonal to the argument being made by the photo essay. They are making the statement “not all Muslims wear ‘Muslim garb’ as would be identified by westerners.”

    Indeed, my comment response to you, as well as my other comment about Aziz are nitpicking on the periphery of an argument I’m trying to stay out of.

  19. #19 |  Joe | 

    #67 | Cynical in CA | October 25th, 2010 at 12:50 pm
    #45 | Joe — “Good to see the anarchist contingent of the Agitator speaking up.”

    Wrong, Joe. Anarchists never advocate violence, with the very narrow exception of immediate self-defense.

    I don’t know what you want to call the person who wrote what you were commenting about (violent vengeful thug?), but “anarchist” is not acceptable.

    Though there are examples of English words meaning one thing and its opposite (sanction, apologize, e.g.), in the case of “anarchist” it is very clumsy, as the word itself means “no ruler,” the ruler in this case exercising a monopoly on violence in a given geographic area.

    +1

    Sorry Cynical. Lables can be clumsy. I should not disparage anarchists. I know you to be a peaceful Shaolin Monk in spirit, but ready to unleash a force of fury if your personal space is attacked. Which of course the person I was responding to was advocating, but in connection to police overreaction.

    Still, the advice that person gave was not good. The answer to police overreaction is not move overreaction. First of all, it is extremely dangerous to do so.

    While his reaction was completely justified and his case is a grave miscarriage of justice, you do not want to live what Cory Maye has been put through (if you are lucky enough not to be shot dead at the time). If you are being attacked and do not know whether it is the police or not, you do not have a choice, you have to defend yourself.

    But if you know it is the police busting in, the wiser choice in any confrontation is throw up your hands and give in. Keep your mouth shut, other than demanding a lawyer immediately. And pay attention to everything happening around you.

  20. #20 |  Joe | 

    #61 | TC | October 25th, 2010 at 11:38 am
    http://blog.al.com/live/2010/10/3_men_posing_as_atf_agents_bre.html

    3 men posing as ATF agents break into home, kill resident

    More ,,, Copy Kat Killings!!!!!

    I stand by my advice above, but how in the hell do you protect against this?

  21. #21 |  Kevin | 

    Ooh. Some muslims wear modern clothing. That’s a freakin’ news flash. I guess that we should give a pass to the violent female repression, and violence in general, that make up a significant portion of the muslim world. What? you say I’m a bigoted jackass? Take a look at Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries where some form of religious law is practiced. Look at how women are treated. This is not just one social group, ie. Hasidic Jews. It is the way the entire country is run. I get the feeling a lot of you would have given Naziism a pass if someone trotted out a few pictures of Hitler playing with his dogs.

  22. #22 |  lunchstealer | 

    Also, I’m not sure that Herr Brooks has watched any sitcoms recently. I largely ignore them, but I know there’s Modern Family, The Middle, and Shit My Dad Says. Also, if we include animation, The Simpsons, Family Guy, and American Dad. Is American Dad still on the air?

  23. #23 |  lunchstealer | 

    And of course, the greatest family comedy of all time (tied actually with the late, lamented Arrested Development), The Venture Brothers.

  24. #24 |  Cyto | 

    @Omar – are nitpicking on the periphery of an argument I’m trying to stay out of.

    Ha-ha… you’ll notice that I scrupulously stuck to describing the arguments of others rather than stating my own position. Hi kettle, nice to meet you!

  25. #25 |  Someone Who Doesn't Want to Lose His Job | 

    Or like Jesus and his one Apostle!

    I think his name was ‘Gary.’

    This sounds like a really good sitcom.

  26. #26 |  Ben | 

    #75 – You really need to read “The Gospel According to Biff”

    Freakin’ hilarious.

  27. #27 |  Elliot | 

    @JOR (#54):

    And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand? After all, you knew ahead of time that those bluecaps were out at night for no good purpose. And you could be sure ahead of time that you’d be cracking the skull of a cutthroat. Or what about the Black Maria sitting out there on the street with one lonely chauffeur — what if it had been driven off or its tires spiked. The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt!” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The GULag Archipelago, 1973

  28. #28 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #69 | Joe — “I know you to be a peaceful Shaolin Monk in spirit, but ready to unleash a force of fury if your personal space is attacked. Which of course the person I was responding to was advocating, but in connection to police overreaction. Still, the advice that person gave was not good. The answer to police overreaction is not move overreaction. First of all, it is extremely dangerous to do so.”

    Shaolinical in CA. Catchy! And this may surprise you Joe, but as a self-described expert in game theory, I agree with your second point wholeheartedly. Taking on the sovereign directly by force is incredibly foolish, dangerous, counter-productive and most likely deadly. That’s one reason why, as an anarchist, I reject the use of force to achieve objectives (unlike my statist neighbors).

    Since the prime directive of sovereignty is self-defense, any attack on the sovereign must be met with superior force, else the sovereign ceases to be sovereign and a new sovereign reigns supreme.

  29. #29 |  RWW | 

    Elliot (#77), I’m sure we will all experience smilar regrets some day.

  30. #30 |  supercat | 

    #43: What’s needed is for robbers to be recognized as such, regardless of uniform.

    Question: if unknown persons break into someone’s home, should the person assume they are police, or that they are free-lance robbers (bearing in mind that free-lance robbers are no less capable of yelling “police” than are government agents)? Which is it more likely to be? If it’s more likely to be free-lance robbers, why should a home owner assume they’re anything but. And if it’s more likely to be the police, wouldn’t that imply the police are a bigger threat than criminals?

  31. #31 |  qwints | 

    @RWW, interesting article. I disagree with a lot of it. First, it’s not at all clear to me that there are correlations which make racist decision making rational. The article does not justify its claim that young black men are more dangerous to cab drivers than young white men. Especially when one ignores such factors as clothing and context. I completely understand avoiding a young man wearing known gang colors or dressed like a thug. But I’ve known peers who couldn’t get a cab while wearing a business suit. I simply do not believe the articles claim that discrimination results from rational inferences rather than irrational prejudice based both on the personal experiences of my peers and my own discussions with people with racist tendencies.

    Additionally, the article ignores the benefits of the public good of nondiscrimination along with the positive externalities of tolerance. There is a significant deadweight loss to society as a whole when potentially productive members of society are locked out of commerce due to their race, religion or gender.

    Finally, this claim: “the only possible logical goal of the antidiscrimination paradigm is the complete elimination of discrimination and the institution of an all-pervasive quota system in every field of human activity” is clearly ridiculous on its face. One can support a level playing field with fair and equally applied rules without seeking to predetermine the score. In other words, anti-discrimination efforts can clearly be a tool to promote equality of opportunity rather than looking to equality of outcome.

  32. #32 |  RWW | 

    The article does not justify its claim that young black men are more dangerous to cab drivers than young white men.

    As unpopular as it is to point out, the statistical relationship between ethnicity and criminality is incredibly well-documented.

    Especially when one ignores such factors as clothing and context.

    To be honest, I don’t care deeply enough about the issue to know for sure, but I’d be very surprised if there hasn’t been a good deal of work done in controlling for variables involving the voluntary aspects of a person’s appearance.

    I simply do not believe the articles claim that discrimination results from rational inferences rather than irrational prejudice…

    Never ever?

    …based both on the personal experiences of my peers and my own discussions with people with racist tendencies.

    Obviously many (and perhaps most) people who discriminate on the basis of ethnicity do so for poor reasons, but that is no justification to outlaw the behavior.

    Additionally, the article ignores the benefits of the public good of nondiscrimination along with the positive externalities of tolerance.

    I’ll excuse the author for ignoring concepts that are vague and unquantifiable.

    There is a significant deadweight loss to society as a whole when potentially productive members of society are locked out of commerce due to their race, religion or gender.

    I don’t exactly know what you mean by “society as a whole” (and I suspect you don’t either), but if my fuzzy notion of what you’re claiming is accurate, you may be correct. But a prevalence of marijuana use, or really entertaining television, for example, may also cause a loss of productivity. This is no justiification for the use of violence to bend people to your wishes.

    The beauty of a free market in this situation would be that if one businessman discriminates against potentially productive people, his competitors are allowed to take advantage of his stupidity and hire them or otherwise do business with them. Nobody needs you and your ilk running the show.

    Then again, your starting premise may be incorrect. If people in group A perform better on average in a certain line of work than people in group B, and a business owner chooses not to employ members of group B (whether because he’s aware of the statistical facts or simply because he has some irrational loathing of group B), his business would at least be better-off than if he chose employees from the applicant pool at random without regard to group membership.

    Of course, the best course of action in the real world, at least if the business requires workers of some intelligence, would be to test the aptitude of each applicant thoroughly and make hiring decisions entirely on that basis. But as you may know, a good aptitude test that measures intelligence in a consistent way is usually prohibited by law — probably because such a test would inherently favor some ethnic groups over others (as is well-documented).

    One can support a level playing field with fair and equally applied rules without seeking to predetermine the score.

    Oh, really? Can those equally-applied rules include a screening test based on IQ? Would you permit a business owner, if he chooses, to hire a third party to test the intellectual aptitude of his applicants and report the results with no reference to skin color?

    But regardless of the source and any possible justification of some individuals’ decisions to discriminate, this is all very tangential to the bottom line, which is this: I believe in property rights. Period. An employer’s open positions belong to him, not you. The products a businessman seeks to sell belong to him, not you. You have no right to either of them, and your implications to the contrary, and your willingness to hurt people who disagree with you, are twisted and frightening.