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 |  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.

  2. #2 |  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.

  3. #3 |  Elliot | 

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

  4. #4 |  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.

  5. #5 |  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.

  6. #6 |  SJE | 

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

  7. #7 |  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?

  8. #8 |  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.

  9. #9 |  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?

  10. #10 |  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.

  11. #11 |  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.

  12. #12 |  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?

  13. #13 |  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.

  14. #14 |  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. :)

  15. #15 |  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.

  16. #16 |  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.

  17. #17 |  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.

  18. #18 |  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.

  19. #19 |  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.

  20. #20 |  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).

  21. #21 |  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.

  22. #22 |  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.

  23. #23 |  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.