Lunch Links

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011
  • So this is a pretty bizarre story.
  • Also from the Reason criminal justice issue, Jacob Sullum takes on sex offender laws. Predictions on when the first “libertarians defend pedophiles!” critique will appear?
  • Cop says he was punished for not granting “professional courtesy” to an intoxicated prosecutor at the scene of a crash.
  • Photos photographed where they were photographed.
  • Just so I have this correct: If you allow unpaid contributors to post articles on your profitable website—of their own free will—you’re basically using slave labor, because somewhere, there is probably someone who is willing to write for pay. That’s some interesting logic. You know what else? I’ll bet that no matter how much you’re paying your paid writers, you can probably also find someone who would be willing to write for more money. Sweatshop! (Obligatory disclosure: I work for Huffington Post. I am not working for free.)
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44 Responses to “Lunch Links”

  1. #1 |  RomanCandle | 

    LIBERTARIANS DEFEND PEDOPHILES.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist).

  2. #2 |  Andrew S. | 

    I’ve seen plenty of “libertarians defend pedophiles” arguments in the past. I’ve been accused of it myself, when arguing against laws such as the ones stating that no sex offenders can live within 2500 feet of a school/park/etc.

  3. #3 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Slave labor: If you charge for your writings, then you are a money-grubbing SOB.

    Bizarre: What’s bizarre about cops wrecking someone else’s property and covering it up?

  4. #4 |  M. Steve | 

    From the Boycott piece: “Class consciousness and solidarity among young educated people is almost dead in this country. A whole lot of people see an information society as a workplace they can succeed in on merit if only they just work a little bit harder, write that one more article, etc.”

    Funny, I would have written the same exactly paragraph, only I would have meant it sincerely and been happy about the situation.

  5. #5 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Not sure if it is related, but the drunk Assistant DA was let off the hook by cops at least twice before. But that was before this:

    Still, when her arrest was first revealed in April it proved a huge embarrassment for District Attorney Robert Johnson. His office is trying to prove that up to 40 cops should be indicted. An additional 100 cops could face NYPD disciplinary charges.

    Just a coincidence prolly.

    Note that she refused a breathalyzer. Always refuse the test…and then lawyer up.

  6. #6 |  cackalacka | 

    William Edward Hickman says hello.

  7. #7 |  DarkEFang | 

    “Zinstein was later told in a visit from a Personnel Bureau lieutenant “that the department wanted to do right by him,” sources said.

    “He was told to figure out where he wants to work,” one source said. “The lieutenant said he would make it happen for him.”

    Zinstein has yet to act on that offer.”

    Make sure and tell them you want to work in the harbor patrol.

  8. #8 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    “libertarians defend guys who piss on walls!”

    Yea. *rolls his eyes at sex offender laws*

    M.Steve – Yes, because things have never been bett…oh, wait, right.

  9. #9 |  SJE | 

    I don’t see what is bizzare about the Ferrarri story. The FBI had access to a rare sports car, drove it illegally and crashed it. How is this different from the drugs and cash that go missing from evidence lockers, or the seizures of property for police use generally.

  10. #10 |  Mannie | 

    That story of the wrecked Ferrari doesn’t surprise me. The crooked cops seem to believe that seized property is theirs to use as they see fit. I was sharing a table at a wedding with a Federal Narc, who was bragging about the Hybrid Escalade he was driving. It was a drug seizure car. He was not amused when I asked him who authorized him to drive my car.

    The system is so corrupt, they think they’re honest.

  11. #11 |  Highway | 

    M. Steve, I agree completely with that: I’d also have read that and agreed unironically. I also like the claims that people who have been bloggers since 2007 have turned ‘old’, although they think they’re still young. Cause 4 years makes you ‘old’.

    Of course, the whole thing is a Progressive Purity Test: “How can you advocate for unions and labor ‘rights’ when you won’t go on strike to support a dying union of people who want to prevent you from doing what you want to do, because they’ll lose out.”

  12. #12 |  Greg | 

    Sure Huffpo was for profit and I haven’t heard anyone serious claim they were lead astray in that way. However, this is also where it gets less straightforward…

    You are my friend/neighbor and you own a rickity small house. It needs help, you can’t afford to pay pros and frankly, without the free help the shack will collapse.

    So a bunch of helpful types who are pretty handy get together and go all Extreme Home Makeover. The homeowner hangs out with the volunteers and encourages them, they roast marshmallows, sing kumbaya. They gathered together to talk about the horrors of rampant greed, and that while not your brothers’ keeper, you shouldn’t piss on his head and call it rain. The homeowner was there, often leading the rallies.

    That small house has been expanded way beyond it’s original footprint and is looking pretty nice now. Then one day out of nowhere, the owner stands up and says that she’s sold the place. For a huge profit.

    You know it IS her place to sell, but over the last year as she was doing this deal, she never let on to you that your volunteer efforts were gonna get her paid. Big time. Though it IS neat to have the tourists come and admire your work, you did it out of a sense of making a difference for a like-minded person.

    The final steaming dump in your oatmeal comes when after making a pile for herself, the owner not only isn’t offering you any monetary appreciation for your efforts, but is now trying to Tom Sawyer you into painting the fence. Again.

    You knew that you probably shouldn’t have trusted someone who switched sides after being unsuccessful as a conservative commentator, but she seemed so sincere…

    This is why they are really suing.

  13. #13 |  celticdragonchick | 

    I followed this link from the cop/drunk DA story.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/05/16/2011-05-16_teen_girl_was_raped_impregnated_by_fellow_churchmember__then_forced_to_apologize.html?obref=obinsite

    Pretty outrageous stuff about a 15 year old girl raped by a church member and ends up pregnant, then forced to apologize to her congregation. It also shows a police detective who seems motivated, competent and determined to bring a sleaze to justice. Nice to know that there are still some of those guys around.

  14. #14 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Not sure if it is related, but the drunk Assistant DA was let off the hook by cops at least twice before.

    I see a private practice criminal defense career in her near term future.

  15. #15 |  Greg | 

    The system is so corrupt, they think they’re honest.

    One cop and one Excalade? Small time punks. In STL the towing company would just steal your car and then sell it to cops. Including the Chief’s daughter. Hundreds of cars just disappeared, some to be later found later with washed titles owned by cops. The Feds finally broke up the party a coupla years back.

    http://towingutopia.blogspot.com/2008/07/st-louis-post-dispatch-rips-lid-off.html

  16. #16 |  Irving Washington | 

    That Sullum piece is excellent. I had no idea about the recidivism data.

  17. #17 |  SJE | 

    “I had no idea about the recidivism data” In which I realise how wonky we have all become….

  18. #18 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Re HuffPo and “slave labor”: By the same logic, a guy who makes good money and has sex with a willing adult woman for free is using slave labor because there are plenty of prostitutes who are willing to do it for pay. Apparently Erik Loomis is unfamiliar with the termreductio ad absurdum.

  19. #19 |  Kwix | 

    #12 Greg,
    The difference is that HuffPo makes its money from advertisement, not the selling of the franchise. Unless you have blinders on when you are on that site (or use ABP in your browser) you would have known from the start that the group wasn’t working on restructuring a house but rather a restaurant. That they didn’t recognize it as such is the onus of the workers, not the owner.

  20. #20 |  Aresen | 

    At the rate that the “sex offender” restrictions are escalating, I fully expect that all “sex offenders” will be required to move out of the Milky Way Galaxy by 2050.

    I also expect the definition of “sex offender” will include anyone who strips to take a shower without locking the bathroom door. [Of course, “Public Servants” will continue to recieve “professional courtesy.”

  21. #21 |  Dave Krueger | 

    If you allow unpaid contributors to post articles on your profitable website—of their own free will—you’re basically using slave labor…

    Under that logic, I plan to boycott every publication and website that permits letters to the editor and user comments beginning right

  22. #22 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #18 Maggie McNeill

    Re HuffPo and “slave labor”: By the same logic, a guy who makes good money and has sex with a willing adult woman for free is using slave labor because there are plenty of prostitutes who are willing to do it for pay.

    From my little corner of the world, I’d say there’s an acute shortage of slave labor in the world (which is probably why I’m so fucking disagreeable most of the time).

  23. #23 |  Wiregeek | 

    @ #17 RE: #16.

    Nothing abnormal at all about having new data change opinion or inform decisions. I’d say it’s one of the best things about being a thinking human – we can learn!

  24. #24 |  Brandon | 

    #19, Arianna made $300 million from the sale of the franchise. And while her actions are not illegal, nor should they be, just like in the analogy, that doesn’t mean it’s not a dick move.

  25. #25 |  Dave Krueger | 

    It always looks like easy money when someone else does it.

  26. #26 |  ClubMedSux | 

    You know it IS her place to sell, but over the last year as she was doing this deal, she never let on to you that your volunteer efforts were gonna get her paid. Big time. Though it IS neat to have the tourists come and admire your work, you did it out of a sense of making a difference for a like-minded person.

    That’s shitty luck. Unfortunately, it’s neither a crime nor a civil tort. If we tried to rectify everything that was shitty, unlucky and/or unfair via the court system, bloggers wouldn’t exist because we would all be lawyers (except for the bailiffs).

  27. #27 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    I, personally, would like to hear those who are attacking HuffPo explain how their position is NOT a desperate attempt by a bunch of dopes who have gone through a worthless accreditation process to defend what they consider “their patch” against outsiders who are willing to work hard and make their own way on their own merits. This is just more of the “If you don’t have a j-school diploma, you aren’t a REAL reporter” cr*p. Never mind that H. L. Mencken never went to college at all…..

    *crickets chirping*

    thought so.

  28. #28 |  Greg | 

    Kwix,

    I don’t necessarily disagree with your modification of the analogy, but I would add that implicitly, if not explicitly, the volunteers were told the restaurant had to make some money to pay the rent and utilities, but basically existed as a forum for the cooks to put out interesting food.

    Not to help build a franchise and sell it out to McDonalds.

    I’m not proffering who is technically right or wrong. The observation is just that they got hustled on some level, they’ve figured it out, and now they are pissed. I agree 100% Bernie Madoff’s victims should have known better. Anybody who did a bevnap analysis of Madoff’s fund knew that it couldn’t do what Bernie said it did.

    I’m not judging whether the fact they should have known better excuses the fraud. Life is full of hard lessons. I just get frustrated that it gets distilled down to ‘they volunteered so they should suck it up’ when there is more to the story. That’s all.

  29. #29 |  Chris Rhodes | 

    “He was told to figure out where he wants to work,” one source said. “The lieutenant said he would make it happen for him.”

    Make sure and tell them you want to work in the harbor patrol.

    Buwahahaha, and here I was afraid I would be the only one to make that connection.

  30. #30 |  scott | 

    Thread hijack alert!

    Samuel L. Jackson narrates “Go The Fuck To Sleep”. It’s a 5min. long .mp3 and if you have kids it will get at least one good laugh out of you: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/193540/GoTheF–kToSleep.mp3

  31. #31 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    Obligatory disclosure: I work for Huffington Post. I am not working for free.

    Out of curiousity, is your writing for them work for hire, or do you maintain the copyrights? If the latter, is their license to the material transferable?

  32. #32 |  Nando | 

    “He was told to figure out where he wants to work,” one source said. “The lieutenant said he would make it happen for him.”

    Yeah, that’s how Jimmy McNulty ended up on the boat!

  33. #33 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Greg,

    Well said in #12 and #28. That’s exactly why libertarians take caveat emptor and laissez-faire orthodoxy too far: the orthodoxies are great cover for hustlers, con artists and other shysters.

    When a business owner realizes a windfall from the labor of unpaid workers, the workers deserve back pay or royalties. If the owner continues to be stingy and hide behind sleazy legal covers, they should sue her if they have any legitimate cause and standing. Even a standard shakedown for a settlement is not entirely inappropriate, since hustlers can’t complain about getting hustled.

    Sure, the plaintiffs may be whiny White People (in the sense of Stuff White People Like) and overeducated bullshit artists, but that is no excuse for their employers to engage in wage arbitrage until they have volunteer labor forces for profitable enterprises. And as I’ve written before, Arianna Huffington is well connected and would have had no problem raising capital to make a full payroll, so she had no excuse for mooching off of an unpaid labor force.

    Another thing: comments and letters to the editor are a different beast from original, standalone articles. Conflating the two is a reductio ad absurdum too far.

    We keep seeing these naive arguments that professional writers don’t need unions, pay, benefits or basic protections of their workplace rights because they’re creative types who stand a good chance of striking it big someday. Employers take advantage of this aspirational irrationality to abuse the hell out of their creative staff. At some point, it’s no longer fucking “Wheel of Fortune,” it’s a job, and it’s time for the help to grow a pair. It’s time to join the real world, which is an adversarial one, especially in the United States. An adversarial system doesn’t work if one side doesn’t have the balls to be adversarial.

    That’s why commercial pilots don’t get screwed over as easily as writers. It’s not a matter of agreeing to little or no compensation because they’re doing what they love; it’s a matter of recognizing that they have to look out for their own financial interests because management won’t. So, no matter how much they love to fly, if management asks them to fly for free, they don’t say, “oh, sure, it is an honor and a privilege to be able to fly such beautiful aircraft in such a great country!” They say, “ask that again and half your fleet will be grounded tomorrow.”

  34. #34 |  Nick | 

    This is just a personal pet peeve, but going to give it the once and done treatment.

    When a link is posted with text along the lines of “so this is (insert vague term here)” and nothing else to describe what the article is about, and hovering over the link reveals a url with a numeric id instead of a slug, I don’t click on it. I’m not accusing anyone of anything. I am however noting that this is a thing, and while I can not vouch for others, I’m sure I’m not alone. Might be the most interesting thing I read all day, but I’ll never know because I’m only going to click if the subject appears to be of interest.

    Just my .02.

  35. #35 |  Andrew Roth | 

    PS to #33:

    Writing that, it occurred to me that libertarians have a lot more in common than they think with college-educated leftist arts and humanities majors. Kind of a scary thought, eh? But they both seem to lead sheltered existences at opposite ends of the White Reservation, untroubled by the thought of bad people in the world who might try to fleece them. They either insist that bad things only happen to less charmed people or that there is some structural panacea that will make everything better. Rand/Marx published blueprints for the Comintern/free market utopia, so if only society could follow through with their plans, human sin would no longer exist. In any event, family money will tide Whitey over in the meantime.

    And we wonder why the US has such extremes of wealth and intractable debt servitude. No kidding, it’s because we insist on applying otherworldly solutions to a world that exists only in our imaginations. It’s perception over reality yet again.

    Just some food for thought.

  36. #36 |  Not Sure | 

    “When a business owner realizes a windfall from the labor of unpaid workers, the workers deserve back pay or royalties.”

    Of course, if the business owner happens to get her pants sued off due to the labor of unpaid workers, those workers have no obligation to chip in to help pay the judgement, I’m sure.

  37. #37 |  Thomas D | 

    I, personally, would like to hear those who are attacking HuffPo explain how their position is NOT a desperate attempt by a bunch of dopes who have gone through a worthless accreditation process to defend what they consider “their patch” against outsiders who are willing to work hard and make their own way on their own merits. This is just more of the “If you don’t have a j-school diploma, you aren’t a REAL reporter” cr*p. Never mind that H. L. Mencken never went to college at all…..

    If you truly would like to hear that explanation — or read it — then why didn’t you visit the page linked by Radley? There you would have found said explanation, and it most decidedly does not involve defending some “patch” against “outsiders.”

    Now, the argument there is certainly a lame argument. But it’s not the lame argument you’re ascribing. It’s a bunch of goofy class-consciousness idiocy, not a bunch of defend-my-turf idiocy. The boycotter is an attorney, not a journalist.

    Incidentally, I’ve worked in a major metropolitan newsroom for more than two decades. I’ve never encountered a single journalist who thinks someone without a j-school degree isn’t a “real reporter.” Indeed, I’d venture that most of the reporters I’ve worked with didn’t go the j-school route.

    I’ve also worked alongside many who don’t have any degree at all. They’re not only regarded as “real reporters,” they’re accorded a kind of nitty-gritty respect. They are admired for the very trait you claim is disdained — for having worked hard and made “their own way on their own merits.”

  38. #38 |  rmv | 

    @Greg and Andrew Roth

    The laws of supply and demand cannot be wished away. There are too many writers. The market signals are very, very clear, “Get another job.” They choose not to.

    That’s reality.

    If they have not been defrauded, they do not deserve anything.

  39. #39 |  Highway | 

    What rmv said there. There’s a limited number of airline pilots. There is a glut of writers, on every subject, everywhere. And a union for blog writers would be really tough to deal with. How does a blog owner deal with it. Would the same (imo) terrible laws apply, about a single union and everyone must join? How will the good writers feel about being forced to join a union with average to crappy writers, and have their pay dragged down? There certainly isn’t an infinite amount of money that people will pay for writing. And what do they do about the ‘scabs’ who start their own blog, covering the same things on personal free sites?

    If people want to join a union, fine. I’ll certainly disagree with using the strongarm tactics that the NLRB brings into play. And don’t think that that would have helped these folks who blogged for free. But they’ll also need to be prepared for the fact that there’s a limited amount of demand, and an awful lot of supply, and they’re not going to cartel up that supply, because there are too many smart people.

  40. #40 |  Jack McCauley | 

    That photo is NOT the Ferrari wrecked by the FBI. It’s a fairly rare and very expensive Ferrari F50. There were only 349 ever built, and while they’re not as difficult to drive as some cars, they are still very powerful supercars with few electronic aids to save your bacon when you realize that you don’t know how to drive a thinly disguised race car.

    Here’s the story. He really cracked it up pretty good.

    http://www.wreckedexotics.com/articles/027.shtml

  41. #41 |  derfel cadarn | 

    So with this reasoning,if I post a comment on your blog ,to put in my 2 cents,I will actually be getting 2 cents? At this rate I`ll be writing in more often.

  42. #42 |  Brent | 

    The picture of the Ferrari in the linked article isn’t even the right model or color. What the dumbshit FBI agent wrecked was a $500,000 F50. Here’s a better article with pictures of the actual wrecked car: http://www.wreckedexotics.com/articles/027.shtml

    Another article: http://www.autoblog.com/2011/02/24/fbi-being-sued-for-crashing-a-ferrari/

  43. #43 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “In 2009, she attended an office Christmas party and was later stopped by police in the Bronx, sources said. Troiano, who police suspect was driving drunk, was handcuffed and taken to the 44th Precinct stationhouse, where she identified herself as a prosecutor and got the arrest voided.”

    Well, if she does it again maybe she’ll have the decency to have a head on with a solid immovable object instead of some poor person (or family) riding along minding their own business. Sometimes that’s the closest an unapologetic drunk driver will ever come being rehabilitated.

  44. #44 |  Greg | 

    Andrew,

    I had a missive in agreement with you and a coupla fun links to go with it.

    Sadly, I had a little attack on my comp and they were lost (ex GFs with Masters in CS can be unforgiving…).

    Anywho, for the idealists among us I would offer this little bit-o-truth that you will learn once you reach the level of VP…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlVDGmjz7eM

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