Morning Links

Thursday, February 10th, 2011
  • I’m not sure this headline would officially qualify as a mistake. But it’s still funny.
  • The tech business cycle: 1. Turn plucky startup into huge success without ever opening an office in Washington. 2. Develop a libertarian streak as competitors use government to cut you down. 3. Give in, open an office in Washington, and realize that to survive, you too will need to learn to manipulate government to harm your competitors.
  • I don’t agree with Sen. Jim Webb on much, but if for no other reason than being a lonely voice of sanity on criminal justice reform, he’s needed in Congress. I also admire the guy’s refusal to partake in Washington power worship. So I’m sorry to see him retire.
  • Speaking of people I admire but don’t always agree with, the Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead has a nice piece at Huffington Post about zero tolerance policies in the schools. Whitehead is among a dying breed of legitimately limited government, intellectually honest conservatives.
  • Here’s a good profile of Obama’s new Internet cop, by my colleague Peter Suderman.
  • Fact-checking Scientology
  • …and fact-checking Fox News (via Reddit). The “expert” who claimed video games are responsible for the increase in rapes is uninformed. Incidence of rape has been dropping dramatically since the early 1990s.
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49 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Bob | 

    What? Scientology may be bullshit? No way! Next you’ll say that Joseph Smith was a con man!

    It’s almost like religions are made up bullshit.

  2. #2 |  Marty | 

    Bob- you beat me to it. It’s like the Mr Obvious Show…

  3. #3 |  goober1223 | 

    @Bob

    At least some of them are fairly interesting, or borne out of a purposeful (though worthless) attempt to explain something unexplainable at the time. I love learning about religions, and especially those deeply ingrained in a culture. But I will never practice one again.

  4. #4 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Tech BizCycle: Remember when Microsoft had $0 budget for DC lobbyists? They did. This…sucks the big one.

    We post a lot about TSA here and TIL:
    A few years ago Omar Suleiman met with John Pistole (then Head of FBI) and the discussion included FBI training Egypt in torture techniques for the folks the USA would be sending to Egypt. Today, Pistole is head of TSA. Soooo…customer service might not be Pistole’s strong point. Just so we’re clear about who we’re dealing with.

  5. #5 |  Mattocracy | 

    It’s really hard to be a “live and let live” libertarian when it comes to scientology. These people are dangerous, well funded, and can exercise a lot of oppressive power over people. I guess they’re scary for the same reason cops are scary.

  6. #6 |  SusanK | 

    Couldn’t get this link to work on my computer, but did the “expert” maybe mean “pinball” not “video games”?

  7. #7 |  J.S. | 

    OT:

    NC cops caught with their hands all over a lady of the evening…

    http://www.wral.com/news/local/wral_investigates/story/9079728/

    “:“Those findings indicated that administrative violations may have occurred and that they stemmed from voluntary interactions between a small number of officers and non-departmental individuals,” Dolan said.”

  8. #8 |  primus | 

    Two items regarding the ‘cops’ whether they be DC lawmakers or local thuglets supports my philosophy: Never, never, NEVER call the cops unless you want things to deteriorate quickly and end up in a real mess. Take care of business yourself.

  9. #9 |  Bob | 

    #5 Mattocracy

    It’s really hard to be a “live and let live” libertarian when it comes to scientology. These people are dangerous, well funded, and can exercise a lot of oppressive power over people. I guess they’re scary for the same reason cops are scary.

    You could replace “Scientology” with virtually any religion.

    Religionheads will tell you that their beliefs do a lot of ‘good’ and they provide comfort and community.

    You can achieve the same thing with other memes. For example: Santa Claus. It works until the child is old enough to question it… then the facade is dropped. You can still have traditions and whatnot, still form communities on these shared values. But what you can’t do without a deity, and why religion probably isn’t going to go away any time soon, is threaten people with divine sanction if they don’t cow tow to the party line. Even total pacifists like the Amish do this.

  10. #10 |  Joe | 

    Webb has been ineffective. Has he acted as a maverick in his own party? Not really. While he apparently spoke out about health care and entitlement expansion to Obama, he has also voted with his party consistently.

    I think a little civility is smart on machiavellian basis alone when dealing with the president (any president). You mean Webb was upset that his son was sent to the Iraqi surge? Well in hindsight, regardless of the merits of the Iraq war, the surge was far better than walking away from that mess. But the president is also not a monarch and while I think it is questionable to be rude to any president at a social function, we have the right to redress government. So it is not that big a deal. As a father and citizen he had the right to his opinion.

    But what is inexcusable is Webb’s reputation for treating his own constituents with contempt. So as a result, George Allen, will likely beat Webb in round II. Hence the reason he is going now. Because if Mr. Maccaca can beat you, it is embarassing.

  11. #11 |  Joe | 

    Scientology is definitely not for me. But if someone wants to go to one of their centers and part with hundreds of thousands of dollars–well that is their business. As for LDS, last time I checked they were not recently murdering apostates to their faith, engaging in honor killings, or promoting terrorism (unless you consider Prop. 8 terrorism).

    I would like to see the media take on the contridictions in Islam (from its inception till now), but with l the exception of a few individual film makers, journalists and animators in Denmark, the Netherlands and Colorado-LA, most will not do so. Why? As Penn says: We have families.

  12. #12 |  Juice | 

    When did Microsoft or Google ever have a libertarian streak? Did I miss something?

  13. #13 |  Tweets that mention Morning Links | The Agitator -- Topsy.com | 

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by FoxArtCultTech, teaist ats. teaist ats said: Morning Links http://bit.ly/g24tyg http://t.tatsn.com/n [...]

  14. #14 |  Mattocracy | 

    #9 | Bob |

    So true. But for some reason Scientology really makes me ill. I think goober hit the nail on the head in the third comment. Most religions are old and were established when the natural world wasn’t really understood. At the time when most other religions were founded, people just didn’t know any better.

    But Scientology was created in the age of science, even has the name rooted in the word “science” while being completely devoid of it. These fucks knew better than to believe in this shit from the get go. That just makes them much more sinister to me.

  15. #15 |  Rob | 

    re: Webb, for calling out Bush on his “reckless” rush to war, for telling GWB that how his son was doing was none of his business, for trying to take care of Vets that this and previous Administrations have ruthlessly screwed over, for reaffirming 2nd Amendment rights [when his aide got busted], for sponsoring a bill to prohibit the use of funds for military operations in Iran and for the Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 – we could use more “ineffective” folks in government like him. IMHO. I swear if I could get him, Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich to have a love child, I’d be set for politics.

  16. #16 |  Aresen | 

    “Fact checking” any religion can be down-right dangerous.

  17. #17 |  EH | 

    Scientology is definitely not for me. But if someone wants to go to one of their centers and part with hundreds of thousands of dollars–well that is their business.

    That reminds me, where do Libertarians stand on suicide, anyway? Should be legal? I don’t mean to paint with a broad brush, I’m just wondering about anything like a conventional wisdom within.

  18. #18 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @#12 Juice,
    MS had a definite libertarian streak in their battle with IBM and others. Gates/Ballmer often championed the competition of the free market to determine winners and counter claims from companies that aligned with the DOJ for help against MS. For example: Joel Klein’s pathetic arguments against MS…I really dislike Joel Klein.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Microsoft

    Google has just as many examples, but has somehow avoided being labelled evil. Eric Schmidt just isn’t the evil type.

  19. #19 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @#14,
    Might want to rethink the Kucinich part. Aside from the asthetics of the genes he’d bring to the love-child (unless you can get his wife to join), Kucinich has crazy running from his disasterous run as Mayor of Cleveland to his inability to chew his food slowly.

    He does get some points for ruffling feathers with his questions he’ll also vote for things like HR 676 without ever asking how the hell it’ll be paid for or what it actually is.

  20. #20 |  not a viking | 

    re: FOX, this link has more http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/tag/fox-news/

    It includes the actual domain experts FOX asked but chose to either misquote or totally ignore.

    Also, rhetorical question, if you had to, where would you send your precious virginal daughter, a LAN party or the football/hockey/lacrosse team party? Just saying…

  21. #21 |  Bob | 

    Mattocracy:

    There is evidence that virtually ALL religions are propagated by people that don’t really believe what they preach. Just look at the “judicium Dei” system used in the Middle Ages. There is every reason to believe the people administering it manipulated the outcomes instead of ‘trusting’ to god.

    Claiming to believe in god is like being under oath. It can either mean you have to tell the truth, or that other people have to believe you. Religion itself prevents the listener from determining which and when.

    The astonishing part is that you can add to it at will, convincing a few lost followers through your charisma, then simply raise kids to believe the new crap (Like Joseph Smith did) and Viola! You’ve rewritten all of religious history.

    Look at the story of Exodus. It’s pretty obvious that there were no tablets in the original narrative. The decalogue was just the ten words, then the body of the covenant was written down by Moses on leather. The crap about the Golden Calf made from ear rings was tacked onto the end Deus ex machina style to add punch to the original story. Now go find a Christian that doesn’t totally buy into the whole “Tablets with the 10 commandments written on it” story.

  22. #22 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Over/under if this thread goes all religiousy: 120.

    Shit.

  23. #23 |  Mo | 

    Hard to feel bad for Google. Eric Schmidt was one of the leading people in attacking Microsoft. They also opened a DC office and hired lobbyists way back in 2005.

  24. #24 |  CyniCAl | 

    Best comment from the Hooters story: “A tempest in a D-cup.”

  25. #25 |  Dante | 

    Re: Senator Webb

    As a constituent, I’ve written to many elected officials. They don’t usually agree with me but they always, always send some kind of respnonse – even if it just says “I got your stupid letter” or such.

    I sent a letter to Senator Webb congratulating him on his attempts to reform criminal justice. His response? Nothing. Nada. Zip.

    Good Riddance to bad rubbish.

  26. #26 |  CyniCAl | 

    Re: Tech Cycle — sounds vaguely like the plot of Atlas Shrugged.

  27. #27 |  CyniCAl | 

    •I don’t agree with Sen. Jim Webb on much, but if for no other reason than being a lonely voice of sanity on criminal justice reform, he’s needed in Congress.

    The premise being that Congress is needed? More of the “if only we had the right people in office” nonsense.

    On the bright side, Webb and Mark Sanford have plenty of time to play golf together now.

  28. #28 |  CyniCAl | 

    #7 | J.S. — “NC cops caught with their hands all over a lady of the evening…”

    Gotta love the hypocrisy angle, but really, beyond that, what are they actually guilty of? That’s what irks me about vice laws.

    Not sympathizing with cops, but in a sane world, no one would be hassled for selling what’s theirs.

  29. #29 |  CyniCAl | 

    #16 | EH — “That reminds me, where do Libertarians stand on suicide, anyway?”

    Interesting question — where self-ownership meets non-violence. Have to come down on the side of self-ownership, even if the violence might harm a family member emotionally/monetarily.

  30. #30 |  Joe | 

    BTW, Webb was an asshole with that staffer caught holding the gun for him in D.C. Webb let him spend a day in jail before admitting he told him to hold the gun for him. Webb should have been packing and faced the penalty as a message that DC’s draconian restriction on freedoms will not be tollerated anymore. Then he would be a hero.

  31. #31 |  Joe | 

    Cynical, I hear that of the dozens of people who have survived jumping off the Golden Gate (out of the thousands who were “successful” in their suicide efforts) every one of them when interviewed said the first thought through their minds was “This is a bad idea…” followed by “It is a long way down to the water.”

    That said, is suicide always irrational (like in the face of an incurable painful disease)? I do not think suicide should be in anyway encouraged by government and should be prevented off public infrastructure, but someone should have the right to decide whether they want to go on or not.

  32. #32 |  George in AZ | 

    Webb should go back to writing books, at which he was great. As a senator, sometimes he went out of his way to be gratuitously rude (as with Bush) and sometimes, as with constituents and staff, it’s a mater of malign neglect.

    But enough of jerks — what does Radley have against Hooters, or against working at Hooters? Maybe he got shot down?

  33. #33 |  Iron Jackson | 

    I’d credit Hurley’s hooters too for her success. It’s the only things she’s got going for herself. Hope she doesn’t sue Fox News and if she does she better not post smiley faces on Facebook. Apparently that’s what passes as an admission these days: http://lawblog.legalmatch.com/2011/02/02/smiley-faces-on-facebook-evidence-of-faked-injuries/

  34. #34 |  Juice | 

    @#17 Boyd Durkin,

    So it really sounds like this. When they were the little guy, they didn’t have cronies in Washington to defend them or beat up on their competition, so they cried for free markets and open competition. When they got big enough to afford dream teams of lawyers and lobbyists, they fully abandoned the pretense of being free marketeers. They then proceeded to use the government to beat up on their smaller competition. It never was a “libertarian streak.”

  35. #35 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    DO NOT fuck with a geek’s video games. He/She will wreck your shit in short order.

  36. #36 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @#32 Juice,
    Yes.

    However; Microsoft was supporting free markets when they were quite large. They ramped up the lobbyists via truckloads of cash when their business was threatened if they didn’t. As a stock holder at the time, I agreed with their strategy.

    I believe the kids would say “don’t hate the player, hate the game.” MS/Google and others MUST play this game to survive.

    I confess a legit “Libertarian streak” can be argued about, but no one said it was legit, right? Just going by my own experience with MS, Google, and others in tech from their beginnings thru first statist attacks, I’d say their defense has been inline with libertarian values. Radley’s bullet nailed a well-known fact of life.

    Extra Point: Historically, the USG will leave a business alone until it becomes big/profitable. Then they want their slice. Now…what other organization acts in a similar way? Hint: “You can have my answer now.”

  37. #37 |  Reggie Hubbard | 

    Jim Webb leaving is a major disappointment. Considering the extreme importance of criminal justice reform and the fact that nobody else seems to be pushing it, his loss is an big one.

    On the other hand, maybe this is what happens when you show up as a moderate in a state your party shouldn’t win and then they ignore you.

  38. #38 |  J sub D | 

    Fact-checking Scientology…

    Scientology is a con job, a scam, made out of whole cloth?

    Who’d a thunk it?

  39. #39 |  J sub D | 

    @#6 SusanK

    Couldn’t get this link to work on my computer, but did the “expert” maybe mean “pinball” not “video games”?

    Comic books.

  40. #40 |  Les | 

    @31, I don’t know if one can be “gratuitously” rude to a guy who dishonestly worked to start a war which has destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. “Appropriately” rude, maybe.

  41. #41 |  B | 

    @ Mattocracy (#13)–Thank you for succinctly articulating what is so uniquely pernicious about the COS. I’ve actually struggled to put that into words myself for a long time (i.e., what make Scientology objectively crazier than what fundamentalist Christians or others believe), and I think you really nailed it down, there.

  42. #42 |  luvzbob | 

    scientology 2011AD = christianity 58AD

    Our only hope is that it and the other charlatan religion, Mormonism, cancels each other out before the new dark ages.

  43. #43 |  SamK | 

    Eh, I don’t know Boyd. You remember the first browser war?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browser_wars#The_first_browser_war

    I use MS products and like them fine, and appreciate a number of the things MS does, but manipulating monopoly power to crush an opponent out of frustration rather than push a better product isn’t something I consider appropriate. They did this sort of thing for at least a decade, and I’m not inclined to forget it just because Bill dumps money on charity and Win7 is finally as useful and stable as win95 should have been (yeah, that’s my take and yeah XP was close). It wasn’t just browsers, it was everything they had a hand in.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/03/19/microsoft_killed_dell_linux_states/

    It may be within the bounds of libertarian philosophy but I’ve never thought of it as so…if it is I can see why the left gets recruits when demonizing libertarianism. They’re a great investment, I like some of the products, but I’ll be damned if what they were doing was ok. Google may act the same way once someone actually produces a threat to their search algorithms and if they do I’ll hold it against them as well…but so far their actions as a monopoly have been awfully difficult to compare to the MS of the millennium’s turn. It’s not good business, it’s not free market, it’s not good for development, and it was illegal enough to lose major lawsuits on more than this continent.

  44. #44 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Scientology is a con job, a scam, made out of whole cloth?

    Technically that still doesn’t prove there ISN’T an alien circling the Earth control our minds.

  45. #45 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #7 J.S.

    NC cops caught with their hands all over a lady of the evening…

    http://www.wral.com/news/local/wral_investigates/story/9079728/

    Yeah, when a citizen uses the services of a hooker, it’s a crime against the public morals, but when a cop does it, it’s an administrative infraction.

    Anyway, glad you posted that link. I turned it into a blog post.

  46. #46 |  primus | 

    EH: Suicide is not illegal. Attempted suicide is.

  47. #47 |  Aresen | 

    Boyd Durkin | February 10th, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Scientology is a con job, a scam, made out of whole cloth?

    Technically that still doesn’t prove there ISN’T an alien circling the Earth control our minds.

    True. But then the question is: Are the people making that claim the ones whose minds are being controlled?

  48. #48 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    Case not getting the coverage it should:

    CANN v. BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND (Md. 2-9-2011)
    February 9, 2011
    MEMORANDUM
    WILLIAM NICKERSON, District Judge This action arises out of the February 29, 2008, fatal shooting of Taevon Cann by several Baltimore County police officers. According to the Complaint, shortly after Mr. Cann drove into a gas station to purchase gasoline, he was approached by two men in civilian clothing pointing handguns. When he tried to drive backwards to get away, his car was rammed by a Baltimore County Police car. Several Baltimore County Police officers then surrounded his car and commenced firing, discharging more than 70 rounds. Taevon Cann’s mother, Gwendolyn Cann, brought this action individually and as personal representative of his estate, naming as defendants each of the officers involved in the incident (the Individual Defendants), as well as Baltimore County. The Complaint asserts a claim for violation of Taevon Cann’s civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I); a
    survival action (Count II); a wrongful death action (Count III); a battery claim (Count IV); and a negligence claim against Baltimore County (Count VI). In addition, the Complaint contains a claim for conversion (Count V) which is premised on an allegation that officers on the scene seized $1,784.00 from Mr. Cann’s body which was never returned to his mother or to the estate or was otherwise accounted for. . . .

    [fn1] Apparently, the shooting was caught on videotape, presumably by a camera in one of the police vehicles.

  49. #49 |  Jaundicedi | 

    Regarding Scientology in general and Hubbard in particular, I recommend “Sex and Rockets”, the biography of Jack Parsons, co-founder of Aerojet, as deep background.

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