Morning Links

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Digg it |  reddit | |  Fark

52 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  AtlasFarted | 

    No link about how Atlas Shrugged utterly failed in theatres and the guy who made the film is going Galt? Go figure, LOL.

  2. #2 |  Radley Balko | 

    Go figure, LOL.

    Do you have the impression that I’m a fan of Ayn Rand, or that I was promoting the movie?

  3. #3 |  Mark Draughn | 

    The flogging guy makes a crazy kind of sense. I remember that when Michael Fay was sentenced to receive a caning in Singapore, I thought it was a much better deal than, say, a few months of prison.

  4. #4 |  Thom | 

    I gave Bill Clinton the finger one time when I was standing outside in the rain without an umbrella, ordered not to move from where I stood as his limo drove by. His reaction was one of genuine sadness and disappointment, as if he didn’t understand what the problem was.

  5. #5 |  MikeZ | 

    Been selected for 8 juries? I’m 38 years old and have been called for Jury Duty exactly once, only to have no cases needed that day. I’m not sure I’d like to sit on 8 juries but I would like to see one at least once.

  6. #6 |  Mattocracy | 

    The poblem I have with government flogging is that the government will always take it too far. I mean, these are the same assholes who say that prisoners at Gitmo aren’t being tortured. If Sherriff Joe had his way, he’d flog people with baseball bats with nails sticking out of them.

  7. #7 |  Marty | 

    I clicked on the Kraft single link with a slight sense of dread…

    Moskos rocks! I’m against flogging. I’m against most imprisonments, though…

    The Peasant post hit a nerve, too. Drudge does a good job eviscerating the emperors.

  8. #8 |  Pablo | 

    I liked the flogging article too. Whaling on someone for a minute or two is a lot more humane than taking away their freedom for years. As I’ve often commented, the idea of locking people up for long periods of time is a recent, unusual, and bizarre practice. If it is a victimless act then it shouldn’t be a crime. If it is a nonviolent crime with a victim (theft, fraud) then require restitution, and perhaps a brief stay in a county jail, and be done with it. The only time I could agree with locking someone up for a long time is if they were truly violent and dangerous–which does not apply to most individuals incarcerated today.

  9. #9 |  Cleanville Tziabatz | 

    Peter Moskos will be one of your guest-bloggers

    Defo looking fwd to that. Be careful though, Totski’s. My opinion is that Prof. Moskos has little patience for dissenting opinions no matter how polite the dissenter may be about it.

  10. #10 |  Mario | 

    Being an Italian-American, I can appreciate your joke about the Kraft single on the soppressata; but, being that at least several states now license interior designers, are sandwich police really that far behind?

    Let’s enjoy a laugh while we still can.

  11. #11 |  Buddy Hinton | 

    @Jury nullification link

    My little brother had a highly similar jury nullification case, although there it was the woman who lightly cuffed the man and it was in front of police. They decided that it wasn’t a real slap, and that if it was a crime it shouldn’t have been.

  12. #12 |  AtlasFarted | 

    “Do you have the impression that I’m a fan of Ayn Rand, or that I was promoting the movie?”

    Hmmm. The former. Yes we all know that you libertarians distance yourself for the rape sex, emotional stiffness, and the blowing up of Cortlandt (at least most of you do) from Rand’s writings. However, the economical atmosphere that Rand describes as ideal is exactly what libertarians want. Free, unhindered, capitalism where each man is free to pursue his own self-interest and the poor are just fucked.

    Oh, and maybe you weren’t promoting the movie, but Reason gave it one hell of a shot.

  13. #13 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Jury Nullification brings out the best in people.
    Did anyone read about 78-year old Julian Heicklen defying the judge’s order
    not to hand out FIJA pamphlets outside the courthouse in FLA and then
    writing a letter to the judge telling him he was “grievously overstepping his authority.”
    That geezer’s got some balls.

  14. #14 |  M | 

    My understanding is that some people did actually die from flogging. What do you do if a 105 lb person or somebody with dwarfism commits a crime? Flog them softer? It’s not practical in a general population with greatly varying body types.

  15. #15 |  Cyto | 

    #8 | Pablo | April 28th, 2011 at 9:55 am

    To be fair, “indefinite incarceration” used to be accomplished via penal colony, shunning or deportation. Basically, if you were that bad, we’ll just ban you from society.

    Still way more humane (and productive) than locking people in cages for 30 years. Heck, we got a decent country or two out of the whole “penal colony” thing.

  16. #16 |  Cyto | 

    #14 | M | April 28th, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Star Trek provided us with the answer to this problem. Direct neural stimulation of pain centers. No physical harm, just intense pain.

    Wait, was that supposed to be a cautionary tale?

  17. #17 |  Cyto | 

    #12 | AtlasFarted | April 28th, 2011 at 10:08 am

    yes, guilt by association. You are responsible for the thoughts, opinions and actions of every person who ever shared an employer, political party or opinion with you.

    Let’s see. You thought Hitler was evil… You know who else thought Hitler was bad?….

  18. #18 |  perlhaqr | 

    Bill Richardson may have been the worst thing to happen to this state so far.

  19. #19 |  FridayNext | 

    I liked the jury nullification article. Having served on 3 juries myself, I always come away with a higher opinion of our judicial system then when I went in. Not because of the lawyers, they are boring at best and douchebags at worst, but because the jurors are excellent people, by and large, and take their task seriously, and easily sees through lawyers crap. (as do bailiffs, judges, and other court employees. One thing that is different in real trials is that they react noticeably when lawyers are acting like douchebags. Laughing, rolling eyes, etc.)

    On the other hand, this paragraph gave me pause:

    “If he thought it was a “fair” decision, then why did his office prosecute this guy in the first place? The answer is that the American legal system has become an industry unto itself, one that supplies lucrative jobs to judges and private attorneys, and decent jobs to public defenders, bailiffs, prison guards, probation officers, expert witnesses, et al.”

    He asks an actual person an actual question (one I’d dearly like to hear the answer to) but uses clever word games to substitute his own cynical, and perhaps accurate, interpretation of the mess and makes us think, if we aren’t paying attention, this is what the prosecutor said. I doubt very much the prosecutor would have given this answer, even if this is what he believed.

    These kind of slights of hand word play make me very suspicious of the rest of the article.

    In this case it is important to understand that juries hear only a portion of what goes on in a trial and sometimes a very small portion. It is quite possible that there was a lot more going on in this trial than the author knew about when on jury duty and only found out about it when he asked the prosecutor his question. Maybe he had beat her before, maybe he had beat other women before, or there was some other incriminating or prejudicial evidence they were not allowed to use (and for very good reasons!) that might not have changed the outcome of the trial, but could make you a little less cavalier about straight up nullification.

    We don’t know, but his word play doesn’t inspire trust or confidence.

  20. #20 |  celticdragonchick | 

    My understanding is that some people did actually die from flogging. What do you do if a 105 lb person or somebody with dwarfism commits a crime? Flog them softer? It’s not practical in a general population with greatly varying body types.

    Yep. I read the account of a British SAS commando who was flogged in Singapore over a bar fight. They used a rattan cane and cut his buttocks all the way to his pelvic bone. He was hospitalized for six months on his stomach in bed.

  21. #21 |  Aresen | 

    In theory, corporal punishment can be more humane and practical than imprisonment. Even if you ignore the possibility that the person doing the flogging may alter his behavior based on his own feelings of the moment, the problem remains that the intrinsic variability of both the people being flogged and the ones doing the flogging make it impossible to do in a consistent “fair” manner.

  22. #22 |  Nancy Lebovitz |

    Police and steroids: menace or moral panic?

  23. #23 |  Aresen | 

    Nancy Lebovitz | April 28th, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Police and steroids: menace or moral panic?

    OOOHH! A quiz! I love a quiz!

    I’m gonna say the first is a menace and the second is a moral panic.

  24. #24 |  Brian | 

    1 John 2:22 “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son”

    Umm. Hey Christians try reading your fucking book instead of interpreting it.

    @12 AtlasFarted:
    Just like any other troll you have no idea what libertarianism is.

  25. #25 |  omar | 

    The comment in which Omar relates all the morning links together + a bonus off topic link. Hilarity ensues.

    Joke Setup: Sandwich Police sez: Out of my way, peasant, I gotta’ get my roids on. If I don’t, who will issue effective floggings to pain patients? The Antichrist?!?

    Punchline: Jury foreman: Innocent!


  26. #26 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: #3:

    Michael Fay served several months in prison for the same offense, too. He made Changi Prison sound a lot more pleasant, safer and better run than most American prisons.

    All the same, Changi is run by some sick puppies who don’t think twice about hanging nonviolent drug traffickers. They put condemned inmates through a photo shoot in their final days and offer the albums to their next of kin as reminders of what their loved ones might have done with their lives had they not turned to crime (i.e., had they not been bound and killed in cold blood). It’s hard to think of anything more grotesque and cruel to the survivors. They treat executions almost as clinical affairs, excisions of human tumors from the body of society. They keep a physician on hand during canings, in part to ensure that the inmate remains conscious in order to feel the pain. This would be problematic stateside, where the Hippocratic Oath is taken somewhat more seriously.

    Singapore is run by a vicious, depraved regime. The prevailing conformist, police state atmosphere appears to have sucked the soul out of much of the citizenry. I’d rather put up with some graffiti, trash and general low-level disorder than with the fascist vampire squid that is the Singaporean government. We already have enough homegrown official depravity without importing the Singaporean version, as people like Thomas Sowell would have us do.

  27. #27 |  Bee | 

    Obama has visited LA 3 times, I think, since taking office. Major road and aviation hassles all around, each time. I believe his visit last week was for a high-ticket fundraising dinner, as well.

    Almost makes me miss Bush, who loathed California enough to never visit us.

  28. #28 |  EH | 

    FridayNext: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

    AtlasFarted: You must be new around here.

  29. #29 |  Leonard | 

    Moscos’s argument is intriguing. Sign me up!

    That said, he does not seem to acknowledge that flogging would not be used like imprisonment. Imprisonment is expensive: this is largely a bad thing, but from the antistate perspective, it is also somewhat of a virtue. Imprisonment is limited by the willingness of the people to pay taxes, which is not infinite. (God help us when the crunch comes and we let all those guys back out into society.)

    By contrast, flogging is ultra cheap. Thus, we could punish people far, far more in a hypothetical society that uses flogging than we can in our own. If we came to accept flogging at all, we would use it more. I see this as largely a good thing — we need more punishment of real criminals. But progressives will never accept it.

  30. #30 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Obama’s administration’s stance on pain meds doesn’t surprise me; He’s a meddler, has always been a meddler, and will probably remain a meddler until the day he dies. Meddlers don’t give a fat damn how much human misery they cause, so long as they get to enjoy the fatuous glow of moral superiority. May all of his teeth go septic on him.

    Flogging has a huge advantage over imprisonment; it is over quickly. Which is why the buttinskis (like Obama, rot him) will never approve of it. The cold fact is that there is a large faction of our society that favors “rehabilitation” not because they believe it will work, but because it allows them to perpetually pester the incarcerated. I thought this was barbaric when I read about the Buttinski Christians of the 19th century doing it, and I see no significant ways in which the Buttinski Progressives of the 20th and 21st are morally superior.

  31. #31 |  Les | 

    The concept of “punishment” is the fundamental weakness in our criminal justice system, because it is 100% subjective. The concept of “public safety,” while often abused for political purposes, is, nonetheless, something that can be measured and discussed objectively.

    We need to move away from ideas of punishment and on to ideas of public safety and natural consequences (e.g. a teacher who has consensual sex with a student should be disallowed to teach rather than imprisoned).

    I don’t see this happening in my lifetime.

  32. #32 |  qwints | 

    The flogging article does well to point out the incoherence of our current criminal justice system. Our discussion of retributivism versus consequentialism in my criminal law class helped me realize that our system is pretty close to the worst of both worlds.

  33. #33 |  POAS | 

    You do realize that Bush visited California several times, right? He also mucked up traffic in LA for hours.

  34. #34 |  random_guy | 


    So flogging would be the new tazer, eh? That makes a disgusting amount of sense. Given the law and order crowds blood-lust, I imagine that within a few years of being approved a few lashes would be given out for just about every crime that doesn’t generate profit for the state (no way they’ll give you a choice of a lashing or a $200 speeding ticket).

    Then theres the obvious problem of police beatings. How would people have reacted to the Rodney King beating in world where flogging was a regularly practiced punishment? In that case wouldn’t it be more of a technical issue that procedure wasn’t followed, his beating coming before conviction and not after?

    Moskos makes an interesting point, lashing a person is obviously barbaric. But what does it say about our criminal justice system then, when we know that many people would prefer to have that barbarism than what we call civilization? If lashing is so terrible, then why is it preferable to prison?

  35. #35 |  Bee | 

    Did he? Well, I stand corrected.

    I honestly don’t recall that at all. I remember Clinton – I even remember a visit from Bush I, since I was waitressing at a function he attended, but not Bush II. Gaah, too many brain cells lost, I guess!

    I can’t even imagine trying to drive in DC. It’s got to be worse there than anywhere.

  36. #36 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Don’t hate me because I want AtlasFarted put in charge of the Fed and the Treasury.

  37. #37 |  croaker | 

    Hey, we have green police, why not food police?

    I expect to see an increase in suicide as people in pain are told to suck it up. Actually, that’s what I’d like to see doctors tell cops, judges, any sort of government thug: “In labor? Have some Tylenol. Gut hurt because there’s a bullet in it? Here’s a leather belt to put between your teeth. Federal judge got prostate cancer? Bayer aspirin to go with the radiation. Sorry, if I prescribe anything stronger, you’ll put me in jail.”

    We really need to do something about the Partnership for a Truth-Free America.

    Given a choice between flogging and a term in Orleans Parish Prison (about to be placed on Double-Secret Probation because Turkish prison is more humane), whipping post, please.

    Who was it that said “laws are for the little people”?

    @4 Do that today and you’ll be shot by a SS sniper. Street justice for Lese Majesty.

    @13 That boy has balls. Big ones. Clanging as he walks down the street. Of course, he’s probably not long for this world in any event.

    @22 Police are a menace. Police on steroids are a bigger menace. I have to wonder if Roid Rage played a role in the off-duty cop who broke into a man’s home and shot him through the liver for the “crime” of holding a shotgun outside his own home.

    @34 I would say that the TASER is the new flogging. It hasn’t been used as a self-defense weapon for quite a while. It’s used as a “Respect my ‘thoriTAY” device.

  38. #38 |  Xenocles | 

    #12 “Oh, and maybe you weren’t promoting the movie, but Reason gave it one hell of a shot.”

    Then go complain at Reason.

  39. #39 |  Goober | 

    M – I understand that people die in prison all the time too – what’s your point?

    I cannot think of a more odd or inhumane practice than denying a man his freedom for years at a time, especially when a lot of these people committed “crimes” that were totally victimless (why punish?), had a victim but were non-violent (make restitution and pay a fine), and so forth. Especially when the denial of freedom necessarily means that you will be in close quarters with absolute predators that will destroy you if they get the chance.

    If I had a choice between six months in jail or 20 lashes, I’d take 20 lashes. No amount of pain would cause me to want to submit myself to a lack of freedom, the loss of my job, the removal of me from my family, the removal of my family from their home, and the destruction of me ever being able to live a normal life ever again, as jail does to every person that it touches.

  40. #40 |  Moot Court Finals Roundup « | 

    […] […]

  41. #41 |  Goober | 

    #12 – I am not speaking directly to you, just lampooning your attempt to tie agreement with one idea in a novel with all actions or ideas presented therein.

    I wonder where people like this guy get the idea that because I agree with ideas like freedom, self-determination, and the right of the individual to live his life unobstructed by the avarice of others to the product of his work, which just so happen to be ideas within Rand’s book, that I also agree with all other things in the book, like rape and blowing up buildings.

    If I said the following:

    “I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, spring flowers, and the smell of dog farts,”

    And someone responded, “I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, too!”

    This idiot’s logic would have him wrinkle his nose at the second person and say “HOW CAN YOU LIKE THE SMELL OF DOG FARTS? And don’t try to distance yourself from that, because you agreed with his statement about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so any attempt to say that you don’t like the smell of dog farts is just you trying to distance yourself from your true beliefs!”

    However, folks like this guy are constantly claiming that THEY are the intellectuals in this debate.

  42. #42 |  JOR | 

    “If we came to accept flogging at all, we would use it more. I see this as largely a good thing — we need more punishment of real criminals.”

    The only real criminals who for the most part aren’t being punished enough as it is – cops and their enablers – would be the ones in charge of deciding who gets flogged and who doesn’t.


    The real problem is this idea that we have to have hardcore corporal punishments, like flogging, or we have to have prisons (as if cruel physical abuse doesn’t happen in prison anyway, much to the delight of the typical American voter). Where, say, restitutionism has been tried, it has been perfectly adequate.

  43. #43 |  Mike T | 

    My understanding is that some people did actually die from flogging. What do you do if a 105 lb person or somebody with dwarfism commits a crime? Flog them softer? It’s not practical in a general population with greatly varying body types.

    No, you flog them over a period of time. Give the dwarf a few lashes every day for several days if that’s what it takes.

  44. #44 |  marco73 | 

    President Obama is coming to Florida for the shuttle launch today.
    Since shuttle launches completely tie up all transportation for miles around, no peasants will be inconvenienced by the presidential motorcade.
    I’m just glad he is on the other coast from me.
    I do find it humorous that the president’s attendance is being completely overshadowed by Congresswoman Gifford’s attendance.

  45. #45 |  Leonard | 

    JOR — where has “restitutionism” been tried? How does it deal with the not uncommon situation where a convict is destitute, has no skills, refuses to work, and/or has such a poor work ethic that he cannot keep a job?

    I am all for restitution where it is applicable. But I don’t think that the majority of criminals can make restitution. We still need punishment.

  46. #46 |  Leonard | 

    random_guy — you say that flogging is “barbaric”, but it has been used by many highly civilized societies. Indeed Singapore is quite civilized; considerably more civilized the USA if you look at crime rates. (Coincidence?)

    I think it is more accurate to say flogging is primitive. It is ancient, low tech, and it works by manipulating the animal in us, bypassing the higher brain. Progressives tend to view “primitive” and “barbaric” as synonyms; I don’t. (It is quite funny, though, to see people who believe all cultures are equally good to be putting down barbarians.)

  47. #47 |  marco73 | 

    Talk about having a tough couple weeks. President packs up the family and heads to Florida, just in time for the shuttle to break and have the launch delayed.
    I guess he’ll have to stop traffic somewhere else.

  48. #48 |  Phelps | 

    So flogging would be the new tazer, eh? That makes a disgusting amount of sense.

    If it meant that we realized that the police tasering someone is them being judge, juror, and carrying out the sentence on nothing but their suspicious and with no due process, I would consider that a Goodness Thing.

  49. #49 |  random_guy | 


    barbaric, adjective:
    1. Savagely cruel; exceedingly brutal
    2. Primitive; unsophisticated
    3. Uncivilized and uncultured

    If you wanted to make the argument that lashing is barbaric and primitive, I would be fine with that. But lets not pretend that ripping the flesh from someone’s back with a cane or whip is in anyway not cruel. The brilliance of Moskos argument is that he fully concedes how terrible flogging is, but notices that it is still preferable to our prison system. Because the temporary, but still terrible, nature of flogging it is somehow less evil than the destruction of a persons connection to family and friends, livelihood, and future prospects that prison forces upon them. Lashes heal, being exiled from society for long stretches of time is near impossible to recover from.

    I don’t know if you were referring to me, but I have never made the assertion that all cultures are equal. Indeed, I believe such relativism sets dangerous precedents for acceptable behavior in society.

  50. #50 |  random_guy | 

    damn italics tag.

    only “and” is supposed to be italicized.

  51. #51 |  albatross | 

    Les #31:

    We want two things here: deterrence and quarantine. Floggings and executions do deterrence pretty well, but they end quickly, which means they don’t do quarantine–the criminals go back onto the streets, and if the deterrence doesn’t work as intended, they’re liable to do more harm.

    For low-level violent crime, quarantine works pretty well, because that’s overwhelmingly a young man’s game–mugging people is a rotten way to make a living at 18, but it’s an amazingly bad way to make a living at 50.

    The problem with locking people up is that its expensive. It costs the state a lot of money, and it also costs the convict years of his life which he can never get back. The advantage of using flogging, or some less damaging form of torture as a deterrent is that the expense drops, but that’s also a problem–it means you can impose the punishment even more widely–you have to be a very rich society to lock up as many people as we do, but plenty of societies can afford to flog or brand 1% of their population per year.

  52. #52 |  albatross | 

    I suspect the ideal system would mix deterrence and quarantine differently for different crimes. For embezzling or premeditated financially-motivated murder (knocking off your rich uncle), you want deterrence. In the case of embezzling, you’ll probably never have another chance at doing it (who’s going to give you a job as a bookkeeper after your embezzling conviction?), but we want to convince most people to keep their hands out of the till for fear of the consequences.

    For career criminals that don’t seem to be deterred by normal punishments, you need quarantine. We surely lock way too many people up, but some folks will keep robbing, raping, and killing their neighbors as long as they’re not locked up, and those folks need to stay locked up forever. Others who are terrors at 18 will not be such terrors at 38, though it may be hard to decide whom to release and whom to keep locked up.

    The hardest case is for something like hot-blooded murder–the classic version is where the guy murders his wife and her boyfriend the day he comes home from work a couple hours early. You really want to deter that, but once it’s done, quarantine is probably not all that important–it’s not all that likely the murderer is going to find himself in that situation twice in one lifetime, after all.