Morning Links

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

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24 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    “a reminder that country music is not dead yet, despite Nashville’s best efforts to smother it in hair gel and software plug-ins.”

    …for the last 20 years at least.

  2. #2 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Way to go for the lawyer suing the town. Weren’t traffic tickets about safety, not money-making schemes, long, long ago?
    They keep it up, attorneys will lose the amoral shyster reputation and gain one more akin to A Few Good Men:
    “We’re supposed to fight for people who can’t fight for themselves. …”

  3. #3 |  Joey Maloney | 

    See, now, I thought that Olympics logo was sending a completely different secret message:

  4. #4 |  Chris in AL | 

    Gosh, the Olympics just wouldn’t be the same without Iran there.

  5. #5 |  J sub D | 

    Lawyer wants to sue town for racketeering for falsely threatening license suspensions if citizens don’t pay automated speeding tickets.

    Small town traffic enforcement being compared to an extortion racket is not new and often not wrong.

  6. #6 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    kmag yoyo is a masterpiece of a song (and pretty funny if you’re into dark humor)

    just sayin.

  7. #7 |  Irving Washington | 

    I’ve seen Hayes Carll 3 times now over the last 5 years, and his live show just keeps getting better. Pete Freedman in the Dallas Observer recently had a review of his latest round of small club shows in which he pointed out that Hayes really is a pretty bad singer but that it doesn’t matter. I had never noticed, but Freedman’s right. The guy can’t sing, but you really won’t care.

  8. #8 |  Roark | 

    Balko and I are of one mind when it comes to our stuff. We want it cheap, and we don’t really care how the Communists produce it.

  9. #9 |  scott | 

    The folks at Deadspin also see Lisa Simpson giving Bart head in the logo.

    And now that I’ve placed that image irrevocably in your head for the rest of the day I can take smug satisfaction in knowing I’ve done my job well.

  10. #10 |  shecky | 

    The actual Wired article (as opposed to the teaser cover) doesn’t quite jump on the bandwagon. It does read like a personal essay about the writer’s guilt over his own consumerism, though.

  11. #11 |  Andrew S. | 

    I hate you, Scott. :(


  12. #12 |  BamBam | 

    March 14 is also Pi Day … get it? 3/14 is 3.14 = pi. This means you celebrate by eating circle shaped objects: pizza, pie, more pizza, more pie.

  13. #13 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    If we use Brit notation, do we get another shot on July 22nd (22/7)?

  14. #14 |  Radley Balko | 

    We want it cheap, and we don’t really care how the Communists produce it.

    Sure. That’s exactly the implication you should draw from that bullet point.

    Read Nicholas Kristoff, the NY Times columnist, and a former critic of developing world factories who changed his mind after an extended stay in Asia. Average annual incomes are doubling every six months in the provinces where factories are springing up. A middle class is emerging in formerly agrarian areas once on the brink of starvation.

    Whether they’re producing iPods, which I own, or some product I’ll never own, I think this is a good thing.

  15. #15 |  Marty | 

    #3 | Joey Maloney- this link and the March 14th celebration have brightened my day in a big way. thanks!

  16. #16 |  Righhhhhttt... | 

    As already mentioned, the Wired article itself isn’t hysterical IMO. Did you read it and still think it was alarmist, or are you just annoyed that they used an age old tactic of headline hyperbole to grab the reader’s attention?

  17. #17 |  Mattocracy | 

    I’m sure in the future you will lose your license if you don’t pay your redlight camera ticket in time. And also have to prove your citizenship when you do pay it.

  18. #18 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Balko and I are of one mind when it comes to our stuff. We want it cheap, and we don’t really care how the Communists produce it.

    I buy “Not Made in the USA” whenever I can. That way I help, by definition, people less fortunate than Americans. My concern for the huddled masses of the poor doesn’t stop at an imaginary border.

  19. #19 |  shecky | 

    FWIW, it might be a better idea to link to the
    actual Wired article rather than some anonymous snark of Wired’s cover.

    anonymous snark

  20. #20 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Iran sees Jewish conspiracies in everything.

    That logo is just *crap*.

  21. #21 |  Andrew Roth | 

    As municipal traffic enforcement rackets go, Steilacoom, WA is terrible. The town is basically a few blocks of houses, a hotel and restaurant, a coffee stand, a ferry peer, and a two-mile-long speed trap. It’s bad enough that the town of Steilacoom should be put into state receivership and patrol jurisdiction assigned to either the Lakewood PD or the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. The problem, aside from the usual moral cowardice surrounding these cases, is that sentimentality gets in the way: Steilacoom is Washington’s oldest incorporated municipality.

    I’ve heard rumors that the town of Roy, a glorified village on the other side of Fort Lewis, is even worse.

  22. #22 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: #3:

    That London Olympiad logo is one of the ugliest things I’ve seen in a while. And it does look like Lisa Simpson giving head!

    The only way one could infer something about Jews from the logo is by being obsessed with Jews. Being an Ayatollah helps. As far as I can tell, the logo is nothing but a bunch of abstract artistic turds in no particular order. Such is the crap that can pass for art when there’s nowhere further to push the envelope.

    On a side note, Persian/Arab bigotry can be pretty entertaining, too. One of Saddam’s henchmen published a pamphlet entitled, “Three That God Should Not Have Made: Persians, Jews and Flies.” For their part, some Persians have a little gripe with the Prophet Mohammed: “He was a great man, peace be upon him, but alas, he was an Arab.”

  23. #23 |  perlhaqr | 

    @Boyd Durkin: I buy “Not Made in the USA” whenever I can. That way I help, by definition, people less fortunate than Americans. My concern for the huddled masses of the poor doesn’t stop at an imaginary border.

    Goddamn it Balko, we need plus karma buttons back! ;)

    Seriously, though, what’s the issue with that? No good karma-software package that works with the version of the blog software you’re running under?

  24. #24 |  Andrew Roth | 

    I have mixed feelings about industrial offshoring.

    Clearly it has lifted a lot of factory workers and their families out of abject poverty. I don’t think that anyone deserves to live a life of hunger, disease and squalor because everyone in his village has always lived that way. To be able to eat and dress well and live prosperously is a blessing, one that is felt all the more keenly if one’s parents or grandparents bust their backs and got hacking cough and pellagra in some godforsaken peasant village in the back of beyond. In that context, a production line job in a Shenzhen electronics factory is a godsend.

    The immediate problem that I see with globalization is that it is used by ethical degenerates to justify all sorts of horrendous work conditions that are either beyond the pale or illegal in the US.

    These people use lofty rhetoric about the free agency of Third World workers to accept or reject factory jobs that Americans consider beneath themselves, and argue that Western labor activists infantilize foreign workers by implying that they are less capable than Americans of managing their own work lives. The problem with this reasoning is that a civilized society doesn’t make its working class choose between starvation and getting astigmatism at the age of 25. Nor does it brook foremen who batter or threaten line workers in order to improve productivity through terror.

    Many of the competitive disadvantages that the US and other Western republics have relative to Third World countries are a consequence of being free, civilized societies. American employees who are worked to the point of exhaustion, put in unreasonable or unnecessary danger, or abused by their bosses have immediate legal recourse to regulators, their unions, or the police. In many of the countries where American industry has been relocated, these avenues of redress either don’t exist or are flagrantly corrupt. Authorized unions in the PRC, for instance, are a joke. Few of the countries recently favored for industrial offshoring have anything resembling honest police forces; some have practically no rule of law.

    Here’s something that a lot of globalization boosters don’t admit: if it is wrong to terrorize, brutalize, endanger or do bodily harm to a fourth-generation Pittsburgh steelworker, it is equally wrong to do the same to a first-generation electronics worker in Shenzhen or shoe assembler in Hanoi. Why? Because they’re all people and deserve to be treated as such. Their individual backgrounds don’t matter because there are basic standards of human decency that only the depraved violate. Arguing that a workforce’s more brutal background allows for more brutal treatment is the moral equivalent of arguing that it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife, but only if her ex-husband brandished guns or knives during domestic fights. It is twisted, despicable, evil reasoning, aggravated in the case of offshoring by ethnic bigotry and racism.

    Globalization is perfect cover for the ascendant class of conscienceless American business leaders who have been waging war on noblesse oblige for the last thirty-odd years. This rogue’s gallery of unionbusters, leveraged buyout shysters and other predators and their apologists is easy to caricature because it is so absurd, but these people are a serious threat to any society where they have clout. They actively foster a dog-eat-dog world in which they are unreformed Michael Vicks. Their goal is to hijack the places where they operate and turn them into plutocratic tyrannies.

    It’s foolish to expect business leaders to be bleeding-heart socialist softies. It is, however, entirely reasonable to expect them to refrain from terrorizing and physically breaking their workers, whether through their own actions or actions they permit on the part of subcontractors or foreign police. Consequently, it is entirely reasonable for Western governments to use their regulatory and legal apparatus to deter or punish those who use foreign operations as an end-run around basic human rights.

    This isn’t about hobbling legitimate businesses in order to protect uncompetitive rivals. It’s about keeping thugs and crooks who are in league with thugs from setting up legal no man’s lands so that no legitimate authority can hold them accountable.