Lunch Links

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
  • Headline of the day.
  • “Guatemala is a good place to commit a murder, because you will almost certainly get away with it.”
  • City of Dover digs up, hauls off basketball hoops on private property that were in violation of a new “clear zone” ordinance.
  • USA Today report suggests D.C. school officials cheated on standardized tests.
  • Disturbing how common these sorts of images have become. Remember, these are domestic law enforcement agents you’re seeing, not military.
  • The Tennessee legislature is again considering a bill that would allow grocery stores to sell wine. (Note to local media: Make sure your headline puns are properly aligned with the beverage being regulated. “Wine legislation on tap” = No! “Legislature serves up wine bills” = better.) Rather hilariously, Tennessee’s liquor stores, which have a monopoly on wine retailing, are again warning that this could unleash a wave of binge drinking and DWI carnage on the roadways.
  • So I guess atheists and Muslims are the reason Newt Gingrich cheated on his wives.
  • Disturbing list of writers and intellectuals who have recently gone missing in China.
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73 Responses to “Lunch Links”

  1. #1 |  Rich | 

    Of course, every single Tennessee legislator and his/her spouse has at some point driven down to Destin, FL, for a week at the beach. I’m sure the sight of a wall o’ wine right there next to fruit and veggies at Publix knocked them right off their feet.

    (Or maybe they discovered it was simply convenient.)

  2. #2 |  Pablo | 

    So Newt is afraid we will become an atheist country dominated by Islamic radicals? Doesn’t he realize what a fucking contradiction that statement is?

    I used to think he was a smart guy, his many other flaws notwithstanding, but now I’m beginning to wonder.

  3. #3 |  delurking | 

    You have to love the innumeracy of reporters and their editors.

    “Noyes is one of 103 public schools here that have had erasure rates that surpassed D.C. averages at least once since 2008. That’s more than half of D.C. schools.”

  4. #4 |  shecky | 

    I think Newt is betting nobody in that church knows what those big, $5 words mean.

    I always thought Newt was a self aggrandizing asshole. But I don’t think he’s that stupid. He just acts as if everyone else is.

  5. #5 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    When I lived in Nashville, the only thing that prevented me from insanely chugging a bottle of wine while driving after getting a box of Coco Puffs was that I had to walk next door to the liquor store for the wine.

  6. #6 |  pam | 

    Newt Gingrich….rolls eyes

  7. #7 |  shecky | 

    re: standardized testing-
    Freakonomics has an interesting part about the odd incentives for schools and teachers to cheat on standardized tests.

  8. #8 |  albatross | 

    delurking: I hit that point in the story while standing in line at Starbucks, and stopped reading. Clearly, this isn’t someone I trust to interpret statistics for me….

  9. #9 |  Elliot | 

    If more Americans became atheists, that would be a good thing.

    Islamists? Not so much.

  10. #10 |  André | 

    I walk through Grand Central Terminal on the way to work every day and see people dressed in full military attire holding automatic rifles, looking around and scanning the crowd. I don’t know if there are people who feel safer for having them there, but I am not one of those people.

    One of my parents lived in Berlin back during German Autumn (1977) and said that they saw military personnel guarding transit hubs, airports, and everywhere with automatic weapons, and this omnipresent police force today is reminiscent of the heyday of the terrorists in Germany. The difference, of course, is that there were actual terrorists in the Baader-Meinhof group who were blowing things up with some degree of regularity.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that there’s hope. German streets and Bahnhöfe are no longer patrolled by militarized police on a day-to-day basis, and they came to terms with the terror threat.

    (The Wikipedia on “Red Army Faction” is an interesting read if you’ve got some free time.)

  11. #11 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Trippy story on the SWAT teams.
    Just wondering, as I check at the photo, do you *have* to have a
    blurred face to join the Secret Police? That’s gotta be an ultra-rare
    genetic condition. As rare as the Mexican wolf boys.

  12. #12 |  albatross | 

    Re: the images, in this as in so many other things (random searches, drug tests at school and work, surveillance cameras everywhere, TSA groping and “no jokes,” etc.), we’re being trained to feel comfortable in the police-state we’re building up. Which is a kindness, really–imagine what a jarring experience it would be to go directly from a decent, free country to one where saying the wrong stuff really did lead you to rationally fear the midnight knock on the door, and where if jackbooted thugs dragged you and your wife and kids out of the house in the middle of the night, shot your dogs, and kicked the shit out of you for complaining, your neighbors would all assume it was your fault somehow and look on passively.

  13. #13 |  Jesse | 

    Fascinating article on Guatemala. Having been there myself on a missions trip (and loved it) I have studied a bit of history of the tragic history of this country. Probably no other Central America country has been through such severe conflict and strife.

    And of course, Guatemala’s civil war was touched off by a CIA-led/provoked coup, at the behest of fruit companies and prevention of that dastardly communism.

  14. #14 |  Elliot | 

    Just think, when this sort of article is on the Huffington Post, we’ll have the pleasure of seeing comments calling Newt a dangerous fascist, (unintentionally) ironically posted by people using Che avatars.

    Agitatortots, dig out the dusty old 1990s jokes about Newt, just in case he’s running in 2012. Surely, it’s going to be much more important to the cause of liberty to hit on those constantly than to discuss, oh, I don’t know, the Obama-Pelosi health care monstrosity. *cough*

  15. #15 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Just wondering, as I check at the photo, do you *have* to have a
    blurred face to join the Secret Police? That’s gotta be an ultra-rare
    genetic condition.

    Actually, if you ever watched the TV show COPS, you’d know that blurred face syndrome (or BFS) is prevalent among criminal types, especially those involved in the drug and/or sex trade. By hiring recruits with BFS, the Secret Police ensure that they have a deep pool of officers who can go undercover without arousing suspicion.

  16. #16 |  Marty | 

    regarding the witch who was fired by the TSA: the statement that ‘She caught a woman on her way to Vietnam with $30,000 in cash,’ makes me glad the Agnes Moorehead looking tramp was fired. I’d love to know what happened to the Vietnamese woman and her money and why it was a good thing that her she was ‘caught’.

  17. #17 |  donald | 

    Marty, while I think prejudice is a bad thing, I can’t make myself feel sorry that someone got fired from being an noisy thug.

  18. #18 |  clubSix | 

    Actually the local liquor stores say nothing about a wave of “binge drinking and DWI’s”. The warnings that they giving have to do with your normal, run of the mill ‘buy local, save jobs’ mantra. Save for the very last bullet point which states that more availability to alcohol shows higher rates of consumption, which may be indeed true. Did you even click the link?

  19. #19 |  donald | 

    Damn it I meant nosy. Quiet thugs aren’t any better than noisy ones.

  20. #20 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Easy up, Elliot. There’s time to do both.

  21. #21 |  MassHole | 

    That TSA article accidentally points how goddamn stupid TSA employees are. One that thinks she’s a witch and another that is scared of having a spell cast on her!

  22. #22 |  jppatter | 

    #16, Marty – Yes, I was also wondering what the problem is with someone taking her money to Vietnam. Who cares whether it was $30 or $30,000, why should the TSA care? Doesn’t the “S” allegedly stand for Security? Does confiscating cash somehow make the planes safer?

  23. #23 |  Fascist Nation | 

    Looks like they took the SWAT team photo down…didn’t like the suggested appearance of a police state.

  24. #24 |  Ptlindy | 

    Re: basketball hoops story. The story was reported from Dover, DE, but the events took place in Wilmington, DE. Still stupid (my neighbor had similar problem with a single neighbor complaint, put a “portable” hoop in same location in “protest” for awhile)

  25. #25 |  Rich | 

    I do not own the telephone pole in front of my home it is on the city property,on public property, public right of way, These people do not own the property, and when they purchased the house they purchased the property up to the end of their property line, the hoop was not on their property, the hoop was not their property. My neighbor a good libertarian keeps his private property on his private property because it is illegal to keep it on everyone else s property he has respect for his neighbors and the law. These people have a right to play on their own property walk on the public sidewalk they do not have a right to play in the street. That is illegal, if they want that right they should have taken the time to go to the city council meeting, that’s when you stop tyranny NOT when the cops are at your front door.

  26. #26 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Actually the local liquor stores say nothing about a wave of “binge drinking and DWI’s”. The warnings that they giving have to do with your normal, run of the mill ‘buy local, save jobs’ mantra. Save for the very last bullet point which states that more availability to alcohol shows higher rates of consumption, which may be indeed true.

    In other words, the article doesn’t say what you say it says, except that one point where it says it.

  27. #27 |  Highway | 

    Rich, it’s not about a ‘right’ to play in the street. It’s fine with me if the town or municipality won’t sanction kids playing in the street since it would be their liability if they said it was ok. But just because they don’t say “Go ahead and do it” doesn’t mean it’s illegal, and even if it is, it’s rarely enforced. You want to enforce against kids playing in the street, then do that.

    Additionally, this isn’t a city ordinance or even a town ordinance. They put residential street clear zones under the jurisdiction of the state department of transportation (DelDOT), and, really, crafted a law that is made entirely for killjoy folks to ruin it for everyone, and put it in a body where there really couldn’t be any local response when the law was being crafted. Who doesn’t want ‘safe’ roads? But that doesn’t change the fact that there’s almost no compelling interest for the state to regulate clear zones in residential developments through blanket policy.

    Clear zones are mandated on higher traffic and higher speed thoroughfares to enable vehicles that leave the pavement to either slow down, stop, or recover control without hitting anything. When you designate the clear zone as including a residential sidewalk, that means there is nothing to stop cars from hitting people on the sidewalk. Additionally, putting clear zones in residential neighborhoods *increases* the average speed of drivers, because they feel less constricted by roadway geometry.

    So to me, it’s pretty simple: this law was made for folks who didn’t like other people having fancy mailboxes or basketball poles to call up and complain and have the state, which is much less responsive to individual citizens, come out and basically harass people. Is it legal? Yeah, if the municipality allows the state to have jurisdiction over their roads. Is it in any way right? Hell no.

  28. #28 |  witless chum | 

    “So I guess atheists and Muslims are the reason Newt Gingrich cheated on his wives.”

    Well, on the bright side, atheists and Muslims probably did the first two Mrs. Gingrich’s a favor. The third, she knew what she was getting into.

  29. #29 |  Elliot | 

    Jesse (#13):…prevention of that dastardly communism.

    How ironic that you put that comment in an article whose last link is a list of people who have gone missing in China, a communist authoritarian government which is still oppressing people.

    Because, of course, it’s horrible to actually take up arms to try to prevent the imposition of an ideology which caused on the order of 100,000,000 murders in the past century, plus the enslavement of more than a billion.

    It would have been nice if the leaders of the free world had handled cold war battles ethically. But don’t pretend that communism wasn’t an existential threat, that it isn’t a fundamentally evil philosophy which deprives the individual of his or her rights.

  30. #30 |  Elliot | 

    Boyd Durkin (#20):Easy up, Elliot. There’s time to do both.

    Or, we could look at the actual policies which Gingrich endorses and note the ones on which he takes the wrong side. You know, the things which actually affect us like Obama’s enactment of health care deform affects us.

    If Newt got a blowjob in 1993, exactly how is that going to affect my paycheck or whether my doctor can practice medicine in a way which serves me best?

  31. #31 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Elliot, you are amazing in your ability to miss the point. You must be unbeatable in a knife fight.

    There is time to have fun and also rationally discuss issues. I’m not sure about the capability being there, but there is the time.

  32. #32 |  Ira | 

    Off topic:

    Atlanta area locals are fighting back…

    http://www.wsbtv.com/news/27349434/detail.html

  33. #33 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Don’t get me wrong, Elliot. I’ll vote for Newt for Prez. That’s the only way I’ll get to see Bush brought up on charges…you know…because Newt isn’t a hypocrit or anything. Just does his job.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/politicolive/0311/Newt_Gingrich_Im_not_a_hypocrite_for_impeaching_Clinton_while_cheating_on_my_wife.html

  34. #34 |  Aresen | 

    “Guatemala is a good place to commit a murder, because you will almost certainly get away with it.”

    Noted for future reference.

    ∫I’ve got a little list.
    They’d none of them be missed.∫

  35. #35 |  Jesse | 

    #29 Elliot:

    Communism was an existential threat in the countries where it actually existed extant, in fact I wish I could cite a piece that recently showed how communism was against imperial domination in principle. That is a trait that is much more easily applied to democracies. This “communist threat” was contrived to justify the extension of American power hither and yon across the globe. In terms of actual agression, the western world has unilaterally acted upon countries far outside their own borders and outside their own hemisphere countless times, something that was relatively rare for Soviet Russia and has been virtually unheard of for China.

    Are you actually arguing that the threat of communism justified the slaughter of Vietnam because some state department bureaucrats came up with some (now completely debunked) “domino” theory? To steal a phrase from the Guatemala article, “let’s drain the sea to kill the fish.”

  36. #36 |  Les | 

    But don’t pretend that communism wasn’t an existential threat, that it isn’t a fundamentally evil philosophy which deprives the individual of his or her rights.

    The working theory behind our policies during the Cold War was that being tortured and murdered by anti-communist dictators was better than being tortured and murdered by communist dictators.

  37. #37 |  Thomas Paine's Goiter | 

    The story on Guatemala is awe-inspiring. It’s like Dostoevsky, Faulkner and Poe came together and wrote a novel.

    And it was all touched off by our own ridiculous government.

  38. #38 |  omar | 

    Elliot,

    Ideologies don’t kill people, people kill people.

    Just because Chinese people committed mass-murder in the name of their ideology, does not mean that we didn’t cause more murder to happen in Guatemala than would have happened on had we stayed out of it. And two wrongs never make a right even if one of the wrongs is super-wrong.

  39. #39 |  Mattocracy | 

    #30 | Elliot |

    Um…The GOP supported an insurance mandate back in the 90’s as a alternative to HillaryCare. And Newt ran the show back then. So how about we discuss how Newt is the samething as Obama. Cause he is.

  40. #40 |  Aresen | 

    Jesse | March 29th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Communism was an existential threat in the countries where it actually existed extant, in fact I wish I could cite a piece that recently showed how communism was against imperial domination in principle.

    Actually, Marx was quite in favor of Imperialism. Read Kapital.

    Seems the “primitives” were not ready for the Revolution, it was perfectly ok to take the resources from them to use for the proletariat.

  41. #41 |  Radley Balko | 

    Elliot, you are amazing in your ability to miss the point. You must be unbeatable in a knife fight.

    That made me LOL. I’m totally going to steal it.

  42. #42 |  Rich | 

    #27 oh then thats a whole lot more then I knew about the whole story thanks. but if their ball lands on my property im keeping it.A basket ball hoop blowing over in a high wind into the road almost made me a victim of a crime the other day.I see there is a bigger story here thanks

  43. #43 |  omar | 

    Elliot, you are amazing in your ability to miss the point. You must be unbeatable in a knife fight.

    How appropriate, you fight like a cow.

  44. #44 |  Elliot | 

    Jesse (#35):Communism was an existential threat in the countries where it actually existed extant, in fact I wish I could cite a piece that recently showed how communism was against imperial domination in principle.”

    Oh lord, has someone been reading Chomsky?

    You want to explain to me how the Ukrainian terror famine was anything but imperial domination taken to genocidal extreme? And yet, someone has you suckered into believing that these people are principled opponents of the same?

    After WW II, it was the entirety of Eastern Europe which fell to the Soviets.

    Those countries weren’t communists before Stalin’s armies occupied them.

    “This “communist threat” was contrived to justify the extension of American power hither and yon across the globe.”

    You are a useful idiot.

    In terms of actual agression, the western world has unilaterally acted upon countries far outside their own borders and outside their own hemisphere countless times, something that was relatively rare for Soviet Russia and has been virtually unheard of for China.

    Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Albania, Hungary, Romania, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Tibet.

    Nope. Nothing to see here. Move along.

    Are you actually arguing that the threat of communism justified the slaughter of Vietnam….

    The US involvement in SE Asia was a huge mistake. The French should never have been allowed to retake possession of their colonies after WWII. And, once they got involved, it was evil to continue a war they knew was futile.

    That said, the communists had already murdered tens of thousands of people in North Vietnam (and terrorized the remaining) before they set their sights on taking the South in the 1950s. Had the US stayed out of things, the communists would have murdered plenty on their own.

    …because some state department bureaucrats came up with some (now completely debunked) “domino” theory?

    Who debunked the theory? Did they notice Laos and Cambodia falling after Saigon? Did they notice Ernesto Che Guevara traipsing around the Congo or Bolivia?

  45. #45 |  Elliot | 

    Jesse (#35):…virtually unheard of for China.

    Besides Tibet, China also invaded North Korea during the war and provided materiel to communists in SE Asia.

    I call total BS on your revisionist history.

  46. #46 |  Elliot | 

    Les (#36):The working theory behind our policies during the Cold War was that being tortured and murdered by anti-communist dictators was better than being tortured and murdered by communist dictators

    Not to excuse any of the ethical lapses involved in choosing the “lesser of two evils” during the Cold War, but if you want to compare body counts, the communists murdered many orders of magnitude more people than any anti-communist dictator. Augusto Pinochet, the boogeyman of the “left” and the poster child for murderous anti-communist dictators killed as many as 3,000 people, tortured 30,000, and imprisoned 80,000.

    You know what they called that in the USSR? Wednesday.

    This false equivalency is revisionist bullshit.

  47. #47 |  SJE | 

    Newt is probably pissed with atheism, after finding that those who do not believe in a diety also consider Newt to be completely amoral.

  48. #48 |  Rune | 

    #43 Omar

    You winz ze interwebz for SotMI reference

  49. #49 |  Righhhhhttt... | 

    “One that thinks she’s a witch”

    I don’t understand this snark. What’s wrong with her thinking she’s a witch?

    “I was also wondering what the problem is with someone taking her money to Vietnam. Who cares whether it was $30 or $30,000, why should the TSA care? ”

    Anything $10K or over must be declared for international travel in or out of the country. I’m not saying it’s right, but it is the law. In any event, it still shouldn’t be a TSA concern, but customs issue. However, it allows TSA to pad their statistics with “wins.” Yes I work for TSA, and yes, it’s pretty much as fascist on the inside as it looks from the outside. Luckily, I have mere weeks left til I’m doing something at least moderately less evil with my life.

  50. #50 |  JOR | 

    “Actually, Marx was quite in favor of Imperialism. Read Kapital.”

    Indeed, Marx wasn’t even particularly hostile to capitalism*; to him it was just a step on the path towards communism.

    *Capitalism, for Marx, simply means the centralization of industrial capital ownership, whether that ownership is “private” or not (is an absolute monarch or a cluster of semirepublican institutions or a nominally communist party that amounts to a traditional old-world aristocracy headed by a traditional old-world despot really less of a private interest than a huge corporation? note that the productivity and incentives of a given allocation of property control has nothing to do with the justice of the claims; whether Kim Jung Il is a righteous Hoppean monarch or a dirty gay feminist hippy communist libertine vegetarian usurper, his complete control of NK would have the same results for the people living there.)

    People spend far too much time and effort trying to neatly classify and taxonomize ideologies (and, for that matter, religions, and cultures). At some point, all ideas are related to each other, since reason is universal, and even in day-to-day, year-to-year living they’re always cross-polinating and absorbing and learning from one another. That’s one of the reasons “right” and “left” are so fluid and shifting and, well, useless as descriptors of ideas and values. They’re only really definable in opposition to each other, because invariably the only thing that makes The Right what it is, is its opposition to The Left, and vice versa. Ideas and values are merely ground and weapons that are won, lost, abandoned, rediscovered, and re-engineered over and over again by each side. How do you know who The Communists are? Are they the people that support unions? Or the people who use the full violence of the state to crush them? Self-described communists have done both. Are they the people that fight for worker ownership and autonomy, or the people that starve and terrorize the workers into complying with collectivization*? Again, self-described communists have done both. Are the Capitalists the ones who are in favor of clear property rules and strict liability for damages, or the ones who want to be able to pump poison into other people’s air, water, and soil with no liability? Self-described defenders of capitalism have argued sincerely for both. Are they for or against imperialism? Again, sincere capitalists have been on both sides of that question. Which are the “true” capitalists? Well, both positions in both cases are compatible with both of the competing definitions of capitalism: 1) the accumulation of capital in the hands of a financial and industrial oligarchy, and 2) the private ownership and free trade of capital.

    It’s far more useful to talk about particular ideas, values, and policies than vague, abstract, meta-ideological, largely tribalistic clusters of contradiction like “communism” and “capitalism” and “socialism” and “fascism” and “right” and “left”.

    *And using rationalizations eerily similar to those used by feudal overlords and capitalists, e.g. “If you don’t work (implied: for your betters) you ought not eat.”

  51. #51 |  Elliot | 

    Omar (#38):Ideologies don’t kill people, people kill people.

    Yeah, cause muggers kill people just as efficiently as prison camps.

    Just because Chinese people committed mass-murder in the name of their ideology, does not mean that we didn’t cause more murder to happen in Guatemala than would have happened on had we stayed out of it. And two wrongs never make a right even if one of the wrongs is super-wrong.

    Who is justifying American intervention? I’m anti-war and a critic of the unethical “lesser of two evil” crap from the Cold War.

    My point (insert knife fight joke) is that communism wasn’t (and isn’t) some harmless boogeyman for which there was never cause to take up arms.

  52. #52 |  Elliot | 

    Mattocracy (#39):Um…The GOP supported an insurance mandate back in the 90′s as a alternative to HillaryCare. And Newt ran the show back then. So how about we discuss how Newt is the samething as Obama. Cause he is.

    Excellent point. There’s also Mitt Romney, who signed the Massachusetts health care abomination into law.

    Those are the things to talk about, instead of harping on blowjobs.

  53. #53 |  Elliot | 

    @JOR #50: That’s why the words “collectivist” and “individualist” are much more relevant than arcane references to the French Revolution.

  54. #54 |  Dr. T | 

    RE: DC schools cheat by correcting students’ wrong answers on standardized tests.

    Statisticians noted that the likelihood of all those wrong answer erasures and right answer selections occurring by chance is less than the likelihood of winning a Powerball lottery with one ticket.

    I believe that the likelihood of punishment for the administrators and teachers involved in this cheating is less than the likelihood of winning a Powerball lottery without buying a ticket.

  55. #55 |  Elliot | 

    Boyd Durkin (#31):Elliot, you are amazing in your ability to miss the point. You must be unbeatable in a knife fight.

    There is time to have fun and also rationally discuss issues. I’m not sure about the capability being there, but there is the time.

    Except I’m not the one missing the point. You missed my point.

    That’s the second dig at Newt in the past week or so. In the run up to the 2008 election, there was a steady stream of digs at Palin on this website, but the Obama/Biden campaign got a relatively easy go of things, particularly considering how anti-libertarian their economic blueprint (as promised and as implemented) turned out to be.

    Balko gets to put up whatever he wants, but if he’s going to present himself as a libertarian critic of government abuse of power, I question the sanity of focusing on the stupidity of Newt or Sarah at the exclusion of criticism of command economists.

  56. #56 |  SJE | 

    Elliot: Radley slathers on the criticism where it is warranted. Its not bias, just that Newt is idiot d’jour.

  57. #57 |  Radley Balko | 

    >>I question the sanity of focusing on the stupidity of Newt or Sarah at the exclusion of criticism of command economists.<<

    Really? Exclusion? In italics even?

    What site have you been reading for the last 2 1/2 years?

  58. #58 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Yum, wine on tap!

    I once actually had wine on tap. It was at the lunch buffet on one of the ferry lines between Stockholm and Mariehamn. The buffet had side-by-side wine and beer spigots that discharged semicarbonated Franzia-grade white swill and a slightly better beer that was on par with Yuengling at best, but with just a hint of PBR-grade industrial solvents. These drinks were about as bad as the food, but they were self-service and all-you-can drink, so there was no reason to complain.

    The main purposes of the Viking and Silja ferries to Mariehamn are drinking up a storm, tax free (formerly duty free) alcohol purchases to evade Alko and Systembolaget, and gambling. They’re Foxwoods on the Gulf of Bothnia.

    Transportation to and from the archipelago is a distant fourth. My parents and I have taken the ferries to Mariehamn several times, and we’ve never seen more than a hundred or so people board or alight at Mariehamn; there was one time when we were three of about nine people disembarking at Mariehamn. Meanwhile, hundreds, if not thousands, of Swedes and Finns walk past each other in opposite directions on a gangway to change ships and go home either to Stockholm or Turku. More than a few of them carry hearty cargoes of Lapin Kulta, tall drinks and liquor bottles.

    Fun times on the drunk boat.

  59. #59 |  Larv | 

    Elliot:

    Who is justifying American intervention? I’m anti-war and a critic of the unethical “lesser of two evil” crap from the Cold War.

    My point (insert knife fight joke) is that communism wasn’t (and isn’t) some harmless boogeyman for which there was never cause to take up arms.

    Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be some tension between these two paragraphs. If you’re saying that communism is a sufficient threat to justify taking up arms, isn’t that a justification for American intervention?

  60. #60 |  Elliot | 

    Larv (#59):If you’re saying that communism is a sufficient threat to justify taking up arms, isn’t that a justification for American intervention?

    No, particularly since American intervention is paid for by taxes forcibly taken from Americans, who may or may not agree to spending their money or to killing others in their name.

    But once you sort out the voluntary aspect of paying for the thing, and you have the locals actually requesting outside help to defend themselves from an aggressor, I have no ethical objections to outsiders giving assistance.

    Besides shooting wars, in which there are often civilian casualties, you also have the matter of the governance, which ends up inviting even more ethical problems. I don’t think the people in Washington should be running the lives of Americans they way they do, so I certainly don’t think they have any moral standing to decide how people in other countries should rule one another.

  61. #61 |  Elliot | 

    Radley Balko:Really? Exclusion? In italics even?

    What site have you been reading for the last 2 1/2 years?

    You responded to criticisms from me and others here on October 6, 2008. You admitted that you hated McCain/Palin more and hoped they would get clobbered, even if you were voting for Bob Barr.

    Considering how Obama has, as predicted, behaved in the same way as Bush (and what McCain probably would have done), but we now are saddled with the Obama/Pelosi health care deform, I’d say my concerns at the time have been completely justified.

    And, I know you’ve criticized the Obama administration when they’ve gone back on their word (medical mj, Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, transparency). But for the average American, those are small potatoes compared to their own pocket books and economic liberties.

  62. #62 |  Banzel | 

    The question of whether the hoop was in the right-of-way is a good one. But if it was on private property under what authority did the city haul it away after taking down the hazard?

  63. #63 |  Jesse | 

    Elliot #44:

    “Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Yugoslavia, Albania, Hungary, Romania, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Tibet.”

    And those countries are in which hemisphere, and most of the bordering which country again?

    Not only that, but which superpower was complicit in essentially handing over these countries to the USSR’s sphere of influence at the end of WW2?

    How many Russian bases are there in the western Hemisphere again, and how many are in countries that border the United States?

    How many US bases are there in the eastern hemisphere, and how many border, or are positioned specifically to indimidate Russia?

    How many wars did the USSR and current Russia conduct in the western hemisphere? How many wars has the USA been involved in or currently conducting in the eastern hemisphere? How many dictators has the USA installed and/or propped up to somehow serve as a counter-influence against Russia?

    How many people in the western hemisphere have been killed by Soviet/Russian bombs? How many people in the eastern hemisphere have been killed by American bombs?

    The USSR was a brutal and epically murderous regime to surrounding countries, but to suggest that the USA needed to overthrow the Guatemalan government and touch off a devastating civil war in Guatemala or risk some kind of Soviet stronghold in Central America is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  64. #64 |  perlhaqr | 

    The USSR was a brutal and epically murderous regime to surrounding countries, but to suggest that the USA needed to overthrow the Guatemalan government and touch off a devastating civil war in Guatemala or risk some kind of Soviet stronghold in Central America is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    Yeah, Eliot, you fucking idiot, it’s not like there are any communist countries anywhere near America.

    Oh, shit, wait. I forgot about Cuba. My bad.

    ——

    This should be considered a thumbs up on 96% of the comments Eliot has made in this thread. :)

  65. #65 |  Highway | 

    Banzel, there is no question these basketball poles were within the roadway right-of-way. But even if they were located within the roadway right-of-way but with the pole behind the sidewalk, they would have been spared from this action. The Clear Zone ordinance lays out the requirement as ‘7 feet from the edge of road or the outside edge of sidewalk, whichever is nearer’ (paraphrased because it’s not the exact language).

    There are really two things that are odd here. One is that the state law gives DelDOT, the state department of transportation, jurisdiction over this clear zone in residential neighborhoods. Now, I’m not a resident of Delaware, so I don’t know for sure, but my experience in other jurisdictions leads me to be unable to imagine that DelDOT has complete responsibility over these roadways – repair, replacement, snow removal, etc. So the state law specifically puts the maintenance of *only* this clear zone within DelDOT responsibility.

    The second thing that’s odd is the action of removing just the basketball poles. I’m sure that people have plants in the clear zones in this neighborhood. I’m sure that people have permanent mailbox installations (those fancy brick ones) in this clear zone. Yet, they just went after basketball poles. And not just one, but all of them.

    There really isn’t much of a hazard for a basketball pole in a cul-de-sac, whether it’s on the curb line or whether it’s behind the sidewalk. So that leads me to believe that the point of this law is for busybodies and killjoys to call up and whinge about ‘I’m tired of these kids playing basketball in the street!’ “We’ll teach them a lesson!”

    Plus, the whole rigamarole with the “No, we can’t just leave it here. We have to take it away, and then you have to come pay us 25 bucks to get it back, and if you don’t pay, and you don’t pick it up, we’ll put a lien on your house.” 25 bucks sure doesn’t cover the cost of sending a loader and a dump truck out there with 3 guys to yank a pole out of the ground. That’s 200 dollars worth of equipment, travel, and labor.

    The whole thing smells. And unfortunately, crotchety neighbor jackass is probably feeling all smug and happy because he gets his jollies from depriving others of fun.

  66. #66 |  Nathania Johnson | 

    I hope the basketball hoops scenario ends up being a case of “libertanianism happens to people.” but that’s wishful thinking. i’ve already seen too many comments that blame the couple instead of the lying cop and the blatant disregard for free speech and property rights.

  67. #67 |  Peter | 

    My last facebook update linked to CNN’s article titled “Gingrich fears ‘atheist country … dominated by radical Islamists'”, along with my own comment of “Gingrich promises new era of McCarthyism and witchhunts. I can’t wait. I also wonder what this three-time adulterer and divorcee plans to do to ‘defend the institution of marriage’.”

    Only one of the 50 people I have ‘friended’ on facebook bothered to comment on it, and she is set to graduate college soon.

    Wake. The. Fuck. Up!

    Our economy is in the shitter. If you own your own company and employ less than fifty people, your company paid more in taxes than GE did the last few years. What’s that? Your company actually pays taxes? You paid far more both as a percentage of revenue and as an actual dollar amount, because GE got an insane REFUND / tax credit.

    And GE has cut jobs, moved operations overseas, kept profits overseas. I’m fine with them gaming the system to get the best tax deal possible. I am. But Obama just named GE’s CEO to the Chairmanship of the Slap in the Face to All Americans Making Less than $500,000 per year Or Who Are Unemployed Committee (Committee on Jobs and Competition or something patently ridiculous and ironic like that)… GE is paying $200,000,000 per year on lobbyists to DEFINE the game, and then winning the HELL out of it. Talk about a broken system.

    Libertarian or not, you are surely aghast at the intellectual idea of cutting funding to programs and infrastructure at home while being engaged in numerous ‘actions’ and outright wars abroad, the most expensive of which aren’t accomplishing anything other than enriching a small handful of companies and individuals. Oh, I guess they’re accomplishing a lot of death, too, and scandal, and giving the government a lot of excuses to assault civil liberties and freedoms. And people are eating it up!

    The NSA is right this very moment packet sniffing EVERY. SINGLE. AT&T PACKET for both home internet and cellular data, illegally, and they have been for a long time. They are essentially mirroring AT&T’s backbone, and no one other than the EFF / ACLU gives a shit. When I hit submit on this post, the NSA will instantly know about it, just like they’ll know how much time I spend on Reddit and what jobs I’ve applied for online and what political websites I visit. I’m almost certainly on some list of ‘questionable allegiances’ somewhere. Maybe I’m even listed as a ‘domestic extremist’ because I won’t drink their fucking Flavor-Aid any more or eat their bullshit.

    Hey, quick question for you – if a prosecutor willfully and intentionally manufacturers evidence and suborns perjury in an attempt to frame you for some crime, what is his liability and exposure to civil or criminal penalty?

    Nothing. He or she has absolutely immunity, and there are actual cases where one or both of these things have happened and nothing happened to the prosecutor. That’s right, an agent of the state can make up evidence to try to convict you, can pay someone to lie on the stand and know that person is lying, and have nothing bad happen to them if it comes out. USA! USA!

    And our airwaves, cable networks, and print media are filled with how dangerous and scary Muslims are, how bad illegal immigration is, how bad and outdated unions are.

    Abortion! Gay marriage!

    Misdirection! Subterfuge!

    Wake. Up.

  68. #68 |  Elliot | 

    Jesse (#63):The USSR was a brutal and epically murderous regime to surrounding countries, but to suggest that the USA needed to overthrow the Guatemalan government and touch off a devastating civil war in Guatemala or risk some kind of Soviet stronghold in Central America is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

    And, where exactly did you hear someone making this dumb statement?

    Pick up the straw on the floor when you’re done beating.

    Rewinding…

    And those countries are in which hemisphere, and most of the bordering which country again?

    Not only that, but which superpower was complicit in essentially handing over these countries to the USSR’s sphere of influence at the end of WW2?

    American socialists and their ilk ran interference for the Soviets, like Walter Duranty covering up the Holodomor in his articles for the NY Times.

    FDR thought “Uncle Joe” was a good guy who could be trusted. But then, FDR transformed the American economic landscape with Social Security (the Ponzi scheme about to blow up on our faces) and all sorts of big government interferences. His collectivist ideology blinded him to the dangers.

    But it is so wonderful that you blame the US for all the murder and oppression carried out by the communists because they didn’t follow Patton’s advice to drive the Soviets back across their border and free Eastern Europe. Want to blame all those people who tried to climb the Berlin Wall because they got in the way of the bullets, too?

    How many US bases are there in the eastern hemisphere, and how many border, or are positioned specifically to indimidate Russia?

    You’d think that a country like Russia which incrementally took control of its neighbors, never relinquished control of countries it was supposed to temporarily occupy, and tried to starve the free people out of West Berlin, could be trusted not to invade any further.

    Those poor commies, being “intimidated” and such. Why, it’s probably all the mental angst from being picked on which caused them to murder tens of millions of people and relegate a billion or so to slavery. It’s America’s fault!

    How many wars did the USSR and current Russia conduct in the western hemisphere? How many wars has the USA been involved in or currently conducting in the eastern hemisphere? How many dictators has the USA installed and/or propped up to somehow serve as a counter-influence against Russia?

    How many people in the western hemisphere have been killed by Soviet/Russian bombs? How many people in the eastern hemisphere have been killed by American bombs?

    Why are you making arbitrary divisions between the eastern and western hemispheres?

    Look at the occupation of Germany after WWII. Which side murdered people who just wanted to cross the border? And, which side allowed the local people to take control of their own countries in the transition back to peacetime?

    You want to start counting things? Let’s count bodies, and GULAGs.

    Then you tell me how the communists were just poor victims of capitalist imperialism.

  69. #69 |  MassHole | 

    #49

    “I don’t understand this snark. What’s wrong with her thinking she’s a witch?”

    Nothing wrong with it other than proving she is a moron.

    Oh, you work for the TSA? Now your question makes perfect sense.

  70. #70 |  JOR | 

    “That’s why the words “collectivist” and “individualist” are much more relevant than arcane references to the French Revolution.”

    Those don’t mean much of anything, either, unless you’re really careful how you use them. That is to say, unless you use those terms in a very precise way that almost nobody (and certainly no Objectivist or libertoid) actually uses them. And if you use the words in that precise way, their explanatory power simply does not cover the dynamics of most real world tyrannies and oppressions. There are plenty of ideologies, for example, that hold that individuals ought to be sacrificed; among those, only a very few are “collectivist” in the sense that they hold that individuals ought to be sacrificed for the benefit of a collective; indeed, most such ideologies are egoistic or teleological, in that they hold the object for which sacrifices must be made is the fulfillment of some particular entity’s plans or whims (be it a Communist Party, a traditional despot, a patriarch, a gaggle of wannabe Randian heros or ubermenschen, or God and his de facto representatives on Earth).

  71. #71 |  Elliot | 

    @JOR (#69): What’s a “libertoid”?

    I’d love to see your justification for the assertion that “no Objectivist” uses the terms in a meaningful way. I don’t know if you have a grudge against them or if you’re too obtuse to get what they mean when they use such terms. Or, something else?

    You’re being too restrictive to demand that a “collectivist” ideology demands that the individual be sacrificed for “the collective” directly. In a theocracy, the collective is “god’s team”. If you’re sacrificed to serve your god, and helping god helps god’s team, then everyone in your religious “family” gets to benefit.

    The Communist Party purports to serve “the people”, so “the people” are the collective, and the party the conduit.

  72. #72 |  omar | 

    @JOR (#69): What’s a “libertoid”?

    I’m making an assumption here that “libertoid” means someone who resembles a libertarian. Like humanoid is a creature who resembles a human. Or a cannabinoid is a chemical resembling the active ingredient in cannabis.

  73. #73 |  Righhhhhttt... | 

    “I don’t understand this snark. What’s wrong with her thinking she’s a witch?”

    “Nothing wrong with it other than proving she is a moron.”

    So, is she a moron for believing in any form of religious belief, or a moron for this *specific* form of religious belief?

    “Oh, you work for the TSA? Now your question makes perfect sense.”

    Oh, you’re just trolling. Now your answer makes perfect sense.

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