Morning Links

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
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104 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  fish | 

    Does anyone really care what Junior Lysenko thinks about libertarians? Anyone?

  2. #2 |  Eric | 

    Myers. Only one ‘e’. And yeah.. I read his blog, but usually skip the Libertarian bashing.

  3. #3 |  Joey Maloney | 

    Actually, I think he finds you more risible than dislikable. Judging from that entry, anyway.

  4. #4 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Can you imagine the headless-chicken hysteria if some state legislator introduced a bill making policemen personally liable for damage done to property they forcefully entered by mistake?

  5. #5 |  Marty | 

    I spent a weekend on a houseboat with a handful of people, one being a scientist- she was giddy about Obama’s pending presidency and voiced similar thoughts about libertarians. her research at the time focused on jacking off monkeys.
    Even her boyfriend hated her after that weekend. Maybe there should be a scientist dating site to put these egomaniacs together- they could list their grants and perks and how clueless the rest of us are…

  6. #6 |  Bart | 

    It says they arrested Rogelio Serrato on warrants for misdemeanors.

    …“The house filled with smoke rapidly,” he notes, describing Sheriff’s deputies who entered the home as heroic. ….

    Trying to stop a manslaughter that they caused is heroic.

  7. #7 |  Gretchen | 

    If all scientists were as you describe, Marty, I think I’d rather date a sea captain. But fortunately they are not.

  8. #8 |  TomG | 

    I frequently come across people (online and in real life) who have a fixed idea about what ALL libertarians are like, and they are very difficult to educate. Nothing I try to clarify seems to make the slightest dent in their certainty that they know our “real” agenda.

  9. #9 |  J sub D | 

    Dems admit health care bill could lead to exploding costs down the road.

    Could? There’s doubt? Have they been asleep since 1932?

  10. #10 |  Mattocracy | 

    “Hugo Chávez jails a judge for 30 years for ordering the release of a man who had been held three years without trial.”

    According to Sean Penn, this is just lies from America’s right wing news media.

  11. #11 |  Highway | 

    The thing that I find is that people are quick to figure out that libertarians want to be left alone, but they cannot grasp the follow up idea that the libertarians also want those other people to be left alone.

    Is it the authoritarian nature of non-libertarians that keeps them from making the critical jump in thinking? Is it that they’re so scared of other people doing what they don’t personally like? Is it because they’re scared of being free to choose, and free to take the consequences? I just can’t understand it.

  12. #12 |  Juice | 

    And there it is again.

    “Fuck you. I got mine.”

    “Ayn Rand.”

    One commenter even describes libertarianism as adherence to Ayn Rand’s philosophy.

    God damn. For this reason, I can’t think of a single person who’s held back the cause of liberty more than Ayn Rand.

  13. #13 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    “He had warrants, so his summary execution via house fire was justified, even though they had the wrong house.

    Shouldn’t have committed those misdemeanors if you didn’t want to die in a fire, jackass!”

    (Official position of the North American Sheeple).

  14. #14 |  Juice | 

    Ok, rephrase: I can’t think of anyone who’s led to more abject dismissal of libertarianism than Ayn Rand.

  15. #15 |  Highway | 

    I have been led to the conclusion that the police like to issue warrants for anything they can, and then not follow up on them (because that would be, like, work) in part so that they can use those warrants later to justify any detention or, as in this case, future action against a person. I mean, this time, they’re basically saying “Well, it’s ok that we threw a bomb at him and burned this guy’s house down and killed him, because we wanted to arrest him on an ancient warrant for jaywalking (is there any other misdemeanor left?)”

    Just a continuation of the idea that the government wants you to be in violation of their laws at all times, so they can use that as pretext for whatever detention or punishment they want.

  16. #16 |  Gretchen | 

    Good question, Highway. I think it’s that the conservatives are used to demanding rights for themselves but not for anyone else so they assume it’s the same for libertarians, while the liberals don’t want to be left alone and can’t imagine why anyone would except to oppress others.

  17. #17 |  Juice | 

    A pet cat has been summoned for jury duty – and has been told by courts he ‘must attend’

    Despite owner Anna Esposito’s protestations that a mistake has been made, a jury commissioner has ruled that Sal must attend the court.

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1347894/Jury-duty-cat-Sal-Cat-summoned-service-US-court-rules-attend.html#ixzz1BOiStU7H

  18. #18 |  Juice | 

    Gretchen,

    Many people think that leaving them alone is oppression or, more accurately, they think that if they must leave people alone then they are being oppressed.

  19. #19 |  Maria | 

    It used to be that you’d go to Science Blogs for… you know… the science (and humor, and insight, and intelligence, and opinion, and the whole ball of fascinating, gooey, yummy cupcake).

    There’s still a few good blogs on there Oscillator, erv, We Beasties, The Mad Biologist, Respectful Insolence, Starts with a Bang; hell even PZ has awesome gems, when not feverish about pie.

    But it seems lately, more often than not, I bring up the main page and there’s a brand new bushel of ideological posts, or some obscure, clique related mutterings. Maybe the site’s imploded one to many times?

    Meh.

  20. #20 |  downdurnst | 

    I love that PZ, who has spent a career pointing out the idiocies and authoritarianism in organized religion can with a straight face bash on those who… point out the idiocy and authoritarianism in government.

    For some reason a good portion of my fellow atheists seem to turn off their logic circuits when it comes to talking about government, and blindly embrace democracy the same way that they deride the religious for blindly embracing their cloud daddy. I guess it’s a form of replacement for them, the ‘worship of Jackals by Jackasses’ to quote Mencken.

  21. #21 |  Joe | 

    The article says they decided to arrest the guy even after they realized they had mistakenly identified him, but arrested him anyway because of two outstanding warrants. Doesn’t say what those warrants were for.

    Well it says they were for two misdemeanors, so taking their cue from Janet Reno, burning down the guys home with him in it was certainly justified. For the children. What no children? Ooops.

  22. #22 |  Joe | 

    My prediction is Hugo Chávez will progressively get worse and worse as a tyrant.

  23. #23 |  PW | 

    That story about the judge in Venezuela is simply appalling.

    Out of curiosity, does the “no wishing death upon politicians” thing still apply when the politician in question is a Hitlerian third world dictator?

  24. #24 |  perlhaqr | 

    I’m pretty sure that if I threw an incendiary device into an occupied dwelling and someone died, and I was in Texas, I’d end up on death row.

  25. #25 |  DarkEFang | 

    @ #14 Juice –

    Agreed!

  26. #26 |  Joe | 

    #24 | perlhaqr | January 18th, 2011 at 11:22 am
    I’m pretty sure that if I threw an incendiary device into an occupied dwelling and someone died, and I was in Texas, I’d end up on death row.

    Maybe you, but I recall Janet Reno skating on that issue. Federal immunity and all. Hell, she even kept her job.

  27. #27 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “The article says they decided to arrest the guy even after they realized they had mistakenly identified him, but arrested him anyway because of two outstanding warrants. Doesn’t say what those warrants were for. More on flashbangs here.”

    I concur with Highway 15 .
    Hell, if they chalk up enough warrants, they’ll be able to flashbang any
    damn house they want and come up with a reasonable success rate.
    Something the news articles don’t mention…I think people are reluctant to admit the sheer fun these “peace officers” have tossing grenades into people’s houses.

  28. #28 |  Anthony | 

    downdurnst: Well said.

  29. #29 |  Highway | 

    I like the amount of skirting they do with the description of the grenade in that article. It’s a “flash-sound diversionary device” or a “flash bang” that “emit flashes of light and loud pops”. Some honesty would be good from these article writers.

    It’s not like they threw in some kid’s toy with LED’s and a speaker that makes ‘loud noises’. They threw in a grenade. Yes, it’s one that’s designed to give off more light than others, but it’s a grenade. And that light comes from *fire*. The pops come from *explosions*. It’s not safe. It’s very dangerous.

    “But that’s ok, because it’s the ‘bad guys’ that we’re using them against. And hey, this was a bad guy. He had ‘a couple of warrants’. He was guilty of something anyway. Heck, if he had lived, the guy probably would have murdered someone eventually, right? Right?”

    It’s sad that people can sleep at night after telling themselves that garbage.

  30. #30 |  Cyto | 

    It does say that they “surrounded his home and called over a bullhorn for more than an hour for him to come out”, so at least they didn’t go with the midnight surprise assault. That’ being said, I’m not sure why they didn’t just enter and search at the point that one of the occupants came out and said they didn’t think anyone else was home.

    Flash-bangs are momentary distractions for forced entry. I’m not sure what the point of a flash-bang would be if you weren’t coming in right behind it. I guess if you have a grenade, you’re gonna use it… blowing stuff up is a lot of fun….

  31. #31 |  Cyto | 

    I learned something new from PZ Myers. Apparently “Libertarian” means “I got mine, now you get yours”. Who knew? Apparently my wife has been a libertarian all these years and I didn’t even know it….

  32. #32 |  Aresen | 

    Police misidentify man as possible accomplice to a murder, send out the SWAT team, which deploys a flashbang grenade, which burns the man’s house down, killing him.

    So, no longer content with surprise attacks and shootings, obtaining perjured testimony, torture to obtain false confessions and fabricating evidence, they are moving along to burning people alive.

    *sigh* Full cycle in less than four centuries.

  33. #33 |  BSK | 

    Whenever we hear cases such as the flash grenade one here, I think we must remember to not only cast our vitriol towards the police on the ground executing (pun intended…?) the raid. Yes, there are tons of mistakes made by these men and women. But often, they are following up on orders and leads from higher ups. We must also make sure those making the decisions that lead to these raids, directly or indirectly, are held accountable.

    I could certainly imagine it possible that in some of these cases, some of the cops involve didn’t know they had wrong or bad information and acted in what they presumed to be good faith. That does not excuse them. But I think we often miss that people further up the food chain, with greater responsibility and power and, presumably, more discretion and a more reasoned approach to the situation, are the ones setting these chains of events off.

  34. #34 |  Aresen | 

    Joe | January 18th, 2011 at 10:53 am

    My prediction is Hugo Chávez will progressively get worse and worse as a tyrant.

    That’s kinda like predicting that the horse with a 30 length lead at the clubhouse turn is going to win the race.

  35. #35 |  Pablo | 

    #15–Highway–that is a great observation. It seems easier for a cop to get an arrest warrant than a search warrant–for an arrest warrant, all the cop has to do is go in front of a judge and basically say that so-and-so violated a law, and most judges have a very low standard for probable cause. For a search warrant they actually have to describe the information upon which their suspicion is based. (Of course they can lie, in which case all bets are off.)

    Plus, a search warrant only applies to a specific location. OTOH, an arrest warrant allows the cop to search not only the person arrested, but also the entire vehicle (if they are traveling in one), or the area of a house or building that is within the suspects “reach.” Of course if they are arrested inside, the cops are allowed to do a “protective sweep” of the entire house/building so that is yet another opportunity to find contraband. So an arrest warrant, even more so than a search warrant, is like fishing in a barrel.

  36. #36 |  Joe | 

    Seacaptaindate.com? Is that how Ed Morrisey met his first mate?

  37. #37 |  Zeb | 

    Science blog guy seems to miss that the essential feature of libertarianism is that you must not use force or the threat of force to get people to give you things. If all libertarians can agree on one thing, that is it. Where do people get these completely backwards ideas about libertarians? Ed in the story is completely illibertarian.

  38. #38 |  andyinsdca | 

    @Zeb: PZ Meyers is just an authoritarian, except that he thinks his version of authoritarianism is OK, but religious or other “conservative” authoritarianism is bad, because he’s a scientist and smart. And skepticism of any of his positions brings out howls of derision and pain.

  39. #39 |  CyniCAl | 

    •Just a hunch, but I kinda’ get the impression that PZ Myers doesn’t like libertarians.

    If perception is reality, as I’ve been told a million times, then libertarians have a serious problem.

    The problem is that there are more stupid people than libertarians.

    Stupid is just plain impossible to reason with.

  40. #40 |  CyniCAl | 

    #12 | Juice — “God damn. For this reason, I can’t think of a single person who’s held back the cause of liberty more than Ayn Rand.”

    You’re more right than you know, Juice. Ayn Rand also gave us Alan Greenspan.

  41. #41 |  CyniCAl | 

    #20 | downdurnst — “For some reason a good portion of my fellow atheists seem to turn off their logic circuits when it comes to talking about government, and blindly embrace democracy the same way that they deride the religious for blindly embracing their cloud daddy.”

    YESSS!!! I have long wondered how an atheist could fail to be an anarchist, or how an anarchist could not be an atheist. Hedging? Unwillingness to think it all the way through? Utilitarianism?

  42. #42 |  Mattocracy | 

    @#38 | andyinsdca |

    Science is as often used a justification for tyranny as religion.

    Why is ok that use force? Because my science/morals/religion is self evidence of my righteousness.

  43. #43 |  LibertarianBlue | 

    RE: SWAT Case

    Just disgusting. I do hope that Serrato’s family gets justice but we pretty much know what happens when the government destroys your life. What I think is worse that people get shocked for when government officials are nearly killed but don’t even blink when cops kill innocent people. Instead we are treated to comments such as:

    “When a cop does something you do it”
    ” If you didnt do anything wrong you have nothing to fear”
    ” Once again the liberal media trying to smear brave police officers”

    ..with Serrato’s background we’ll have special gems like;

    “Probably an illegal on welfare anyway, good riddance”
    “Welcome to America, now go back to your own country”

  44. #44 |  Zargon | 

    #14 | Juice

    Mainstream political arguments aren’t about thinking, they’re about winning. They’ve come to the conclusion that libertarianism isn’t worth thinking about, and when presented with the possibility that maybe they should, their mind reaches out for the most convenient excuse not to. If Ayn Rand didn’t exist, they’d just toss out rationalization #2 instead.

  45. #45 |  Bob | 

    So what does it take for a police officer to admit he was wrong, admit that he overreacted, and apologize for his actions? In this case, an altercation with another police officer.

    Writing a letter! I’ll have to remember that in case anything like this happens to me. Oh wait. I won’t be able to because I’ll be in JAIL and the DA will be slobbering all over himself to get me 15 to 30 on felony charges.

  46. #46 |  Pablo | 

    Kinda sorta on topic:

    http://www.pionline.com/article/20110110/PRINTSUB/301109976

    Im not a Gingrich fan–the man will say or do anything to get what he wants–but this is interesting.

  47. #47 |  Aresen | 

    downdurst & CiniCAl

    I don’t ‘turn off my logic circuits’ when it comes to democracy. I know damned well that people can vote for stupid and oppressive policies.

    But the simple fact is that freedom of speech only exists in countries with democratic forms of government.

  48. #48 |  Sinchy | 

    I’m wondering if there is any follow up on that little girl who was shot in the head in Detroit last year during a raid where a flash bang was deployed and the camera crew was present.

  49. #49 |  random guy | 

    I used to read Phyrangula. I liked his aggressive defense of atheism, and his attacks on religious idiocy relating to science. That said I stopped reading his blog a long time ago. It got to the point where every good post was outnumbered by poll-crashing, e-mails, from idiots, and generic vitriol.

    His hatred of “libertarians” sadly mirrors the hatred creationists have for “scientists”. Both attitudes are formed out of ignorance, a hatred on a projected set of behaviors and beliefs, in conflict with reality. He really thinks the typical libertarian ethos involves robbing others at knife point. Its a sad game of building up straw men.

    I expect him to be more critical in his approach to such subjects. So I stopped reading his blog. Then again maybe his hatred is legit, someone who spent a lifetime building a career on the government subsidized education institutions would feel pretty threatened by extreme small government advocates.

  50. #50 |  CyniCAl | 

    #44 | Zargon — “Mainstream political arguments aren’t about thinking, they’re about winning.”

    Couldn’t agree more. And in that context, libertarianism amounts to: “I’m pissed that they play the game better than I do.”

  51. #51 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    Police misidentify man as possible accomplice to a murder . . .

    This will maybe sound weird or tangential, but here is the thing that gets me about this case:

    how did they get a search warrant for the residence? There was a shooting, but the connection between the residence and the shooting was that a woman who lived at the residence and a man believed to be Serrato was with the shooter earlier in the evening of a shooting. That does not sound like probable cause for a search warrant at all. A search warrant would require probable cause that evidence of the crime was at the house. However, since the woman and man were only seen with the shooter earlier in the evening, it would seem that the inference that evidence was at their house was far too slight to be considered as probable cause. This may be bad news for Serrato’s family, though because they can go after the police, but not the magistrate, and the police will try to say that the warrant immunizes them.

    Anyway, this seems like one of those rare cases where a later court might say that the magistrate did bad and should not have given the warrant.

    As far as the police go, it looks like they were abusing the search warrant process to try to coerce witnesses into talking. that doesn’t seem right.

  52. #52 |  Bad_at_Scrabble | 

    #50
    “Couldn’t agree more. And in that context, libertarianism amounts to: “I’m pissed that they play the game better than I do.”

    If the game is “lets see how many people you can rape”, it’s ok not to be a good player. In fact, morality would seem to demand you are awful at it.

  53. #53 |  Dannyp19 | 

    I thought Ayn Rand hated libertarianism.

    . . . but when debating with people about libertarianism, and you bring up or quote Hayek, Rothbard, or Misses, you get a blank stare. Then they go bitching about Rand again. Sigh!

  54. #54 |  TomG | 

    Hahaha. Just noticed a few of the up-comments. For the record, I’m an atheist who is scientifically minded – and also an anarchist or damn close. I count Lysander Spooner among my heroes.

  55. #55 |  TomG | 

    Dannyp19 (#52) – yes, she did. As I recall from reading her non-fiction (whats that? Rand wrote essays ? who knew !!!), she placed a dangerous amount of trust in government as the sole authorized legal user of force in society. When libertarians tried to point out that by some of her own logic, this made no sense, she got very offended.
    I’ve read stories that she also took offense at Rothbard’s Jewish faith and may have gotten in his face about it. I may be an atheist, but I’m not going to go out of my way to piss off a believer who doesn’t demand I follow their religion. As far as I know, Jews don’t ever proselytize.

  56. #56 |  damaged justice | 

    I may be an atheist, but I’m not going to go out of my way to piss off a believer

    “You stupid people are so easily offended. We enlightened ones just can’t understand. Why are you so stupid?”

    Hearing that crap from atheists doesn’t support any theist arguments. However, it does make the atheists in question look like small-minded, arrogant, maladjusted douchebags, and I find no value in it.

  57. #57 |  TomG | 

    huh? I fear you misunderstand my meaning. How is “not going…to piss off a believer” being an arrogant maladjusted douchebag? I didn’t say “I know I’m right and you’re wrong”, I said “I’m not going to criticize your beliefs to your face as long as you don’t force them on me” – in contrast to Rand, who I think felt it her duty to make all believers see their errors.

  58. #58 |  tim | 

    Whenever PZ comments outside his comfort zone (religion, biology) he sounds like a fool. He clearly doesn’t understand economics or politics.

    I stopped reading him a long time ago. His little cult following was becoming too disturbing.

  59. #59 |  fish | 

    I stopped reading him a long time ago. His little cult following was becoming too disturbing.

    Kinda like the cult following around another tightly…or maybe not so tightly closeted authoritarian….. Krugman.

  60. #60 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I echo #52’s experience. Usually move conversation to weather.

  61. #61 |  witless chum | 

    Here’s a less serious, but just as strange story of police officer misconduct.

    The off-duty cop tried to badge his way into a reserved parking lot during Obama’s visit to Kalamazoo, got away with it, hit a parked state police cruiser, was clearly drunk while driving his wife and children, ignored a couple of direct orders from superiors and was eventually fired six months or so later. Apparently he had a fairly bad record as an officer. Imagine what would have happened to a citizen who tried half the stuff, etc., etc.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2011/01/mark_laster.html#incart_mce

    @23,
    Hitler’s tyrantism was marked by unfairly jailing judges? I was given to understand it was mostly about some other stuff. You learn something new every day. Maybe Chavez is just like Hitler, but really lazy?

    And, yeah, Chavez sucks, but still not as bad as Castro v.1 or v.2 and that’s not to say that U.S. foreign policy toward either dictator or sorta dictator is smart or moral.

    I don’t really get the amount of anti-libertarian vitriol from my fellow left-wingers. You guys are half as wrong as conservatives, so I like you better than the alternative. I’m not sure why that’s not the default view.

  62. #62 |  CyniCAl | 

    #47 | Aresen — “But the simple fact is that freedom of speech only exists in countries with democratic forms of government.”

    I suppose reasonable people can disagree as to the quality of freedom of speech under democracy, and it is reasonable to question whether there even is true freedom of speech. Democracy offers a mixed bag at best, and I’ve read powerful arguments that an absolute monarchy offers the best chance for individual freedom.

  63. #63 |  Aresen | 

    witless chum

    Would you mind parsing that?

  64. #64 |  CyniCAl | 

    #53 | TomG — “Hahaha. Just noticed a few of the up-comments. For the record, I’m an atheist who is scientifically minded – and also an anarchist or damn close. I count Lysander Spooner among my heroes.”

    Nice to have like-minded folk here, Tom. Hang around here long enough and you’ll know everyone’s beliefs. Sometimes some of us go weeks without revealing our anarchist stripe.

  65. #65 |  OBTC | 

    Thread Jack:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110118/ap_on_re_us/us_supreme_court_gun_arrest

    “We recognize that he had been placed in a difficult situation through no fault of his own,” wrote Judge Kent A. Jordan of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. However, the law “clearly requires the traveler to part ways with his weapon and ammunition during travel; it does not address this type of interrupted journey or what the traveler is to do in this situation.”

  66. #66 |  Aresen | 

    @ CyniCAl | January 18th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    I think the only reason people think that an absolute monarchy can have individual freedom is that the monarchs of the past did not have the tools for oppression now available. North Korean, nominally a Communist state, is really an absolute monarchy, after all.

    We both know the fundamental flaw with democracy: The fact that a majority (or plurality) want or believe something that is wrong does not make it right.

  67. #67 |  sigh | 

    “I could certainly imagine it possible that in some of these cases, some of the cops involve didn’t know they had wrong or bad information and acted in what they presumed to be good faith.”

    Yes, most of them are.

    But let’s step back for a moment here; we’re talking about throwing a GRENADE into someone’s house, breaking the door in, and waving guns at people. Good faith or not, mistakes can happen. A lot of mistakes *are* happening … and no one is being held accountable. Not the officers, not their supervisors, not the government.

    How many times have we read about wrong house raids using flashbangs and destructive forced entry, where the officers simply packed up and left, and then refused to pay for the damages?

    That most of them are acting in good faith means nothing to me when they don’t suffer any consequences for screwing up, and don’t appear to be making an effort to prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

    Back to the raid in question; this was not an armed standoff. Forced entry with pyrotechnics for a misdemeanor warrant? Are you shitting me? So if someone present in the residence didn’t pay their parking ticket, it’s OK to kick in the door, throw in incendiary pryotechnics, shoot the dogs, ransack the house, and scream and point guns at anyone who happens to be in there with them?

    They know where the guy lives… rather than having a SWAT team out there making overtime for 2-3 hours, it’d be cheaper to simply have two guys in a car watch him and then pull him over when he leaves the house.

    The linked article on flashbangs has a very good point – when you toss one through someone’s window or front door, you’re committing a rather serious assault on anyone inside. I’ve thrown both flashbangs and frag grenades; I’d love to see someone let rip a flashbang in a courtroom as a demonstration. Hostage rescues and whatnot are one thing, but since when is it OK to pull off a surprise assault on a building full of random bystanders?

    Unfortunately, I don’t think any of this is going to change until they do something really over the top like blow up a building full of orphans and puppies or something.

  68. #68 |  Leah | 

    I think I might be becoming immune to some of the horrific police abuse stories, because the sea captains and the bacon and egg scarf have improved my mood significantly today and I’ve managed to suppress that I read about the grenade story.

  69. #69 |  Pete | 

    Chavez is one of those petty tyrant politicians who professes to love ‘the people’ but can’t stand individuals, I think.

    Like a lot of our politicians. “Shake hands with the underclass? I’ll get ick on my hands!”

  70. #70 |  c andrew | 

    I saved the bacon and egg picture. I named it “scarfing bacon and eggs.”

  71. #71 |  c andrew | 

    I probably should clarify that scarfing in questions is that of eating food rapidly. Other web definitions don’t quite fit…

  72. #72 |  dingdongdugong | 

    Ye gods, what the heck is going on in the comments section of that science blog? Its like a cartoon show of libertarian bashing. You would think the comments section of a science focused blog would be a bit less, uh, vitriolic. Ive only seen similar conversation in the super-hard-right wing nutjob blogs. I didnt expect that in a million years. I figured a handful of well thought out insults, and maybe a philosophic posit against libertarianism, but its just an impotent frothy churn of rage.

    Holy moly. Its just spooky how off the wall they are acting. Is that normal behavior over there?

  73. #73 |  luvzbob | 

    Considering that to get it through congress all of the cost containment provisions had to be stripped out of the bill, why are we not suprised? The health care lobby pulled out all the lobbying stops to make sure this bill didn’t cut into profits.

  74. #74 |  witless chum | 

    @Aresen,
    Three different threads in one comment, sorry if that wasn’t clear.

    1. The Kazoo officer story I linked
    2. Pointing to the ridiculousness of comparing Chavez to Hilter.
    3. Responding to the PZ Myers link, saying I don’t understand the level of vitriol among my fellow leftists against libertarians.

  75. #75 |  PW | 

    Hitler = what Chavez would/will try to become if he ever attains the means to carry it out. One could similarly substitute Stalin, Castro, Mugabe, Mao, or just about any other power crazed autocrat.

    The two of them share a similar affinity for power, a similar hatred for political dissent, and a similarly questionable mental state marked by self-worship and a bizarre quasi-religious obsession with the occult. The only difference is Chavez’ comparatively nascent journey down the same road of despotism.

    And yes, throwing opposition officials into small prison cells with hellish conditions for indeterminate lengths on a personal whim at the slightest sign of political dissent was one of the first signs of Hitler’s madness and danger.

  76. #76 |  Joshgeek | 

    My only complaint about libertarians is that, in an almost delegate effort to dispel the many misconceptions about their political stance, they are so easily trolled. I giver Mr. Meyers a 1/10 for picking such an easy target. Ducks on a pond, as they say.

  77. #77 |  Joshgeek | 

    Gah! “delegate” should read “desperate.” damn autocorrect! >.<

  78. #78 |  Chance | 

    “If the game is “lets see how many people you can rape”, it’s ok not to be a good player. In fact, morality would seem to demand you are awful at it.”

    Awesome. Us non-libertarians are the moral equivalent of rapists. How has libertarianism not completely swept the country yet? :P

  79. #79 |  Six | 

    Re: Flashbang story – I am not quite clear on something, when exactly did they learn they were going after the wrong man – and then decide to pursue him anyway for 2 misdemeanor warrants? Did they burn the mans house up, realize it THEN try to say, ‘whoops, we didn’t get him for what we wanted to get him for, so this justifies that we went at all?’ OR did they investigate him, figure out he was not there guy, but figured, what the hell, lets go blow some crap up. If it’s the first, that’s just disgusting. If the second, then where is the outcry for excessive waste of police resources far exceeding whatever damages his misdemeanor charges could possibly be for.

    This story is all sorts of pissed off.

  80. #80 |  World’s Strangest | Bacon and Eggs Scarf | 

    […] Link via The Agitator […]

  81. #81 |  nicole | 

    Re: dingdongugong @72

    Sadly, this is totally typical at Pharyngula. Like some other commenters above I used to read it (atheist, science-friendly type here), until the libertarian-bashing got out of hand. Basically replaced Bush-bashing. I wasn’t entirely surprised by then, because I’d already discovered their latent authoritarianism in threads about vaccination and circumcision (though admittedly the latter also brings out lots of disagreement among libertarians). I kind of vacillate between disappointment and straight-up disgust when I get linked there now. The post Radley picked today seems especially stupid. I mean, why is it so hard to divide a pie into five equal pieces?

  82. #82 |  Mattocracy | 

    Why is no one commenting on the most interesting link of the day, the boat captain dating service?

    Well over half of those guys have beards. If you’re a boat captain, are you just expected to grow one?

  83. #83 |  croaker | 

    @17 The sad part is that the cat would probably do a better job that most of the sheeple called up.

    @29 I recall one case in VA where the jury got to see a flash-bang. The prosecutor lost the case when the jury was moved a safety distance away from the test site.

    @65 We need some changes to FOPA since neither TSA nor police can actually think as part of their duties. And while we’re at it, make government violation of FOPA a felony.

  84. #84 |  colson | 

    re: PZ Meyers…

    Ed wasn’t a libertarian. If he was, he’d have recognized the pie didn’t belong to him. I’m guessing Ed was at a party, a registered republican government bureaucrat, wholly supporting the drug war, who just got done smoking a big, fat doob while telling his liberal buddies that he has “libertarian leanings”.

  85. #85 |  CharlesWT | 

    […]
    Last week, the Monterey County Coroner said Serrato died from asphyxia due to smoke inhalation, and contributing factors were acute methamphetamine intoxication and resisting arrest.

    Civil Claim Filed In Death Of Greenfield Man: Claim Filed On Behalf Of Man’s Toddler Sons

  86. #86 |  CharlesWT | 

    #48 | Sinchy |:

    “I’m wondering if there is any follow up on that little girl who was shot in the head in Detroit last year during a raid where a flash bang was deployed and the camera crew was present.”

    Part 1: Collateral damage

    (Today, The Michigan View begins a five-part series by Fox 2 Detroit correspondent Charlie LeDuff (former Detroit News reporter and Pulitzer Prize-winner for The New York Times) called “Murder City: The doomed life of Aiyana.” Jones was the seven- year-old girl who was accidentally slain in Detroit on May 16, 2010 – collateral damage in a police raid to catch the killer of 17 year-old Je’Rean Blake Nobles. This series is a condensed version of what ran in the November/December issue of Mother Jones magazine. It won a Sidney Award for best essays of 2010. It is reprinted with permission.)
    […]

    Murder City: The doomed life of Aiyana, Part 1

  87. #87 |  CharlesWT | 

    IT WAS JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT on the morning of May 16 and the neighbors say the streetlights were out on Lillibridge Street. It is like that all over Detroit, where whole blocks regularly go dark with no warning or any apparent pattern. Inside the lower unit of a duplex halfway down the gloomy street, Charles Jones, 25, was pacing, unable to sleep.
    […]

    What Killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones?: A nighttime raid. A reality TV crew. A sleeping seven-year-old. What one tragedy can teach us about the unraveling of America’s middle class.

  88. #88 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    I love that PZ, who has spent a career pointing out the idiocies and authoritarianism in organized religion can with a straight face bash on those who… point out the idiocy and authoritarianism in government.

    I’ve noticed at lot of atheists just start attributing a sort of agency to society and start imputing a requirement that people work toward the good of this agent, never noticing all they’ve done is replace God with more subtle but no less imaginary form of deity.

  89. #89 |  Guido | 

    “I’ve noticed at lot of atheists just start attributing a sort of agency to society and start imputing a requirement that people work toward the good of this agent, never noticing all they’ve done is replace God with more subtle but no less imaginary form of deity.”

    You’ve lost me at “I’ve noticed”

  90. #90 |  JOR | 

    #11

    “Is it the authoritarian nature of non-libertarians that keeps them from making the critical jump in thinking?”

    There’s something to that – but also, a lot of media figures who self-identify as libertarians or who make noises that sound like said said media figures really are authoritarian asshole douchebags. Think Glenn Beck or Bill Maher. Or, hell, your average Libertarian Party functionary. Of course someone as supposedly well-informed as Myers should know better. Hell, he probably does.

  91. #91 |  JOR | 

    #55,

    Well, Rand didn’t take offense at Rothbard’s Jewish faith, seeing as Rothbard was an atheist. There is a rather charming story though that their final falling out involved Rothbard refusing to disown his Christian wife for the sake of the Objective Collective, ending with the couple joyfully walking away from Rand forever, arm-in-arm.

  92. #92 |  JOR | 

    “North Korean, nominally a Communist state, is really an absolute monarchy, after all.”

    This is an extremely good observation. In actual fact, most communist dictatorships have been, effectively, absolute monarchies or gigantic corporate towns. But North Korea beats them all because it’s actually a full-blown, absolute hereditary monarchy – an honest-to-god real world Hoppean paradise.

  93. #93 |  JOR | 

    “For some reason a good portion of my fellow atheists seem to turn off their logic circuits when it comes to talking about government…”

    That’s not surprising. Most atheists aren’t exceptionally reasonable people. Neither are most scientists, for that matter, beyond their specialized knowledge and skills (and even there, scientific progress is driven more by the process and rules of the Science Culture than the virtues or intelligence or skills of individual scientists, who are as big a bunch of schmucks, assholes, biased idealogues, conformists, and dissembling opportunistic jackasses as any other group of professionals).

  94. #94 |  Marc | 

    “In this case, toxicology results might explain why he didn’t come out,” Miller notes. “Maybe he was unconscious.”

    I’m sure the medical examiner will find he was high from inhaling CO and Cyanide.

  95. #95 |  witless chum | 

    @PW at 75

    “Hitler = what Chavez would/will try to become if he ever attains the means to carry it out. One could similarly substitute Stalin, Castro, Mugabe, Mao, or just about any other power crazed autocrat.”

    See, you just named a bunch of very different dictators. If Chavez is on the Hitler trajectory, he’s taking his sweet time about. He’s been in power 10 years or so and is just getting around to penny ante stuff for a dictator. For all the repressive things ol’ Hugo has done, he really doesn’t kill people. Not even as many as Castro. I could see Chavez getting into some bad shit when he’s eventually near being forced out, like Mugabe did.

  96. #96 |  albatross | 

    Yeah, Chavez strikes me as pretty close to the baseline for powerful people in the world–not a monster, but also very aware that he holds a lot of cards and doesn’t have to put up with too much shit from anyone, and very willing to remind them of it, too.

  97. #97 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    #93 JOR

    Most atheists aren’t exceptionally reasonable people.

    “Most”? Citation, please. I think you have some Dunning-Kruger effect going on in your head.

  98. #98 |  CyniCAl | 

    #93 | JOR — “Most atheists aren’t exceptionally reasonable people.”

    I am always pleased, for some reason, to find myself in the minority.

  99. #99 |  JOR | 

    “Citation, please. I think you have some Dunning-Kruger effect going on in your head.”

    There aren’t enough reasonable people to even make up a decent portion of the number of atheists. I guess I could say that compared to religious believers, they tend to be marginally more reasonable. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I have no particular interest in forcefully denying it, because, well, it’s rather uninspiring either way, like “hitmen tend to be more moral than serial killers”.

  100. #100 |  Larv | 

    Dems admit health care bill could lead to exploding costs down the road.

    JFTR, your link doesn’t even remotely support this assertion. First, the Washington Examiner is a pretty transparently partisan rag. It may be slightly better than the Washington Times, if only because it’s not owned by Moonies. And the columnist you link to is spinning madly. He’s resting his whole argument on a Dem aide who said that the bill is primarily about coverage, not cost reduction. Note that word – “reduction”. In case you haven’t noticed, health care costs are already exploding. All he is saying is that the focus of the bill is on expanding and improving coverage, rather than containing the ongoing explosion in health costs. So it’s inaccurate to say that the bill may “lead to” increased costs, at most it may fail to contain them. But the costs are exploding already, health care bill or no health care bill.

  101. #101 |  PW | 

    “If Chavez is on the Hitler trajectory, he’s taking his sweet time about”

    Hitler’s first coup attempt was in 1923. But overlooking the inherent silliness in your attempted reduction of dictator characteristics to a simple reflection of the timeline, the parallels become very evident in that event on other grounds.

    Hitler and Chavez both unsuccessfully attempted to seize power by force.

    Hitler and Chavez both went to prison for said coups.

    Hitler and Chavez were both pardoned early from their prison terms.

    Hitler and Chavez both subsequently turned to the electoral system to gain an initial foothold of power.

    Hitler and Chavez used that foothold to seize widespread power beyond the constitutional scope of the offices they were initially elected to.

    Hitler and Chavez then employed that newfound power to silence political dissent and persecute opposition politicians.

    Hitler and Chavez used that power to heavily militarize their own countries.

    Hitler and Chavez became progressively belligerent toward other countries as their reigns progressed.

    We know Hitler today looking back on what he did in its entirety after his eventual demise. We only know Chavez as an incumbent dictator based on what he’s done to date. And what he has done to date does in fact closely parallel Hitler’s career through the pre-WWII stage from the attempted coup at its outset to the current stage of peacetime militarization and growing political repression, which would place modern Venezuela somewhere in the neighborhood of mid 1930’s Germany were the analogy to continue. To characterize Chavez as Hitlerian is therefore not at all unreasonable.

  102. #102 |  PW | 

    “For all the repressive things ol’ Hugo has done, he really doesn’t kill people.”

    Tell that to the victims of the communist paramilitaries he openly subsidizes and shelters. Come to think of it, that’s another parallel. Hitler had his brownshirts, and Chavez has FARC!

    It’s amusing what lenghts “ol Hugo’s” ideological fellow travelers will go to downplay and joke about his dictatorial nature.

  103. #103 |  John C. Randolph | 

    PZ is a state employee. His hostility towards Libertarians is not surprising.

    -jcr

  104. #104 |  reņģis | 

    @John C. Randolph: would you prefer there were no state employees in education?

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