Morning Links

Monday, September 12th, 2011

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41 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Nice article on USS Ponzi. Now for the face palm counterpoint at The Economist (via reddit so you can enjoy the full effect of state apologists’ mental contortions):

    Can I make a Ponzi scheme last 75 years if I have mandatory enrollment? I say “challenge accepted!”

  2. #2 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Security State:

    regardless of whether the government’s measures are effective, there is an almost perpetual justification for spending more money for programs designed to fight terrorism.

    Which is why my Anti-Terrorism Rock business sold last year for $10 billion. Hat tip to Lisa Simpson for the idea. Pro Tip: use only Made-In-America rocks and union rock technicians.

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Photos from the early age of flight attendants.”

    That’s right, flying used to be fun…and flight attendants were
    attractive and helpful…and they used to give you some leg room, or
    another cocktail, or a snack, and it was all about the customer. But now it’s wayyy better, because of more, what was it? Oh yeah, “security.”
    Never mind the migraine, and the shitty service, damn I feel safe up there.

  4. #4 |  Mattocracy | 

    The Security Industrial Complex. A subsidiary of what Eisenhower warned us about.

  5. #5 |  SJE | 

    re: Fed Court overturns police search based on a hunch.

    Good to see that the court also noted that the cops were defensive, inconsistent and looks like they lied, AND that the government was investigating these cops for other violations of law. Of course, the NYPD had not removed these cops before is just another example of “new professionalism”

  6. #6 |  JSL | 

    Thanks for that link Boyd. I can’t believe the Economist would post something that stupid but hey many people believe like the 4th commenter there, that “It’s fully funded for another quarter century. Worse case scenario is that benefits drop about 20%.”

    Ultimately, I think we have two options regarding social insecurity, dump it now with the baby boomers suffering after being robbed their whole lives or let gen x/y/z pay out for the next 30-65 years and be robbed while likely getting nothing in return. Politicians won’t do much because boomers outvote/outnumber gen x/y (yay abortion!). My own mother, a republican is ready to collect fully next year when she turns 65, wants her share (and she’ll get more collecting from my father’s “savings” than via her 2nd husband’s). On top of that, she supports state laws like Oregon’s law that mandates non custodial parents pay for their kids college education, all while despising obamacare…

    So, I think economic collapse is the only way its going to go away or we wait another 50 odd years for the boomers to die out and hope younger generations won’t be so indoctrinated to worship the state (fat chance).

  7. #7 |  Matt I. | 

    Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, airlines were also legally prohibited from conducting ANY searches on passengers or their baggage; courts had ruled that the mere boarding of an airplane gave absolutely no reasonable suspicion to conduct a search.

    Rights were rights back then.

  8. #8 |  Matt | 

    If the best argument social security proponents have is “you are forced at gunpoint to pay in” I think they should give up trying to defend it.

  9. #9 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    So, I think economic collapse is the only way its going to go away

    I’m pretty sure an economic collapse can be spun as the #1 reason why government programs need to expand and why capitalism is bad. See Egypt and Russia as examples of what happens post-revolution. Guys who had guns tend to keep them and the beat(ings) go on.

  10. #10 |  EH | 

    Yizmo: Blame this guy:

  11. #11 |  Kent | 

    Police officer shoots guys dog, had gone to his house looking for suspects who hadn’t lived there going on two years….

  12. #12 |  MassHole | 

    I’ve never been able to figure out if Anne C is really crazy or if she is performance art that separates the rubes from their dollars.

    Either way, she’s laughing all the way to the bank and the joke is on us.

  13. #13 |  Jeff W | 


    I get that same feeling to when I watch cable news. It’s like there all in on it for the capital gains. Coulter’s liberal bashing is actually more equivalent to Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” tagline. Just repeat with a slight change in the premise and let the cash roll in.

  14. #14 |  Brandon | 

    Is anyone else nervous that the overlord entrusted with Godlike powers in the name of “security” can’t seem to string together a coherent sentence?

  15. #15 |  Frank Hummel | 

    RE: puppycide
    That cop is a pu$$y and I feel for the women’s grief but why still use a home alarm? I canceled mine the minute i moved into my new house. The price for monitoring is not worth the drop in the home insurance rate. If it gets triggered the response time is about 15-20 min. If I’m not at home, the burglars will be in and out with my stereo system and plasma TV faster than that. If I’m at home the whole thing will be over in less than a minute with bodies and bloodstains in the hallway or living room floor.

  16. #16 |  omar | 

    I’ve never been able to figure out if Anne C is really crazy or if she is performance art that separates the rubes from their dollars.

    To me, this video answered your question. In response to Stossel asking about what we did right, she said “…some things were good and some things were not, and the way, basically the quickest way to determine what was useful in the War on Terrorism and what was not whatever liberals screamed bloody murder about. What’s very important about the War on Terrorism, the policies they supported was utterly, were utterly useless…”

    This is an absurd position to take. I know it, she knows it, Stossel knows it, and her fans know it. She looks about as serious as Colbert saying it. She’s a comedian.

  17. #17 |  SJE | 

    I’ve often thought that Anne C is some sort of performance artist/comedian. The problems is that lots of people take her comments seriously. Its like L. Ron Hubbard and his science fiction writing that became Scientology

  18. #18 |  Ben | 

    @15 –

    Ditto. When my wife and I bought our current house, it was already wired and installed for ADT. I’ve never activated it, even though ADT keeps bugging us to sign up. I told my wife that I’d rather get robbed than have cops come. At least burglars usually don’t want to shoot me. Cops have no such disincentives.

  19. #19 |  Just Plain Brian | 

    Ann Coulter is Andy Kaufman. Possibly literally, I never really did believe that stuff about him getting cancer and dying.

  20. #20 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Security State;

    “regardless of whether the government’s measures are effective, there is an almost perpetual justification for spending more money for programs designed to fight terrorism.”

    I would add; there is also a sizable disincentive for spending money on any anti-terrorist programs that might seriously hinder domestic terrorism because a large segment of the Intellectual Class has spent the last several decades playing Radical Chic games. There are honest people raising hell about government phone taps, but when I hear a member of the Radical Left Professoriate screaming about it I have to wonder whether he’s so worked up because he knows very well that if the Feds look hard enough they’ll find his phone number connected with some Boutique Revolutionary jackass with terrorist ties.

    That’s one of the things that I foresee coming out after the next major terror attack; lots and lots of upper-middle-class pseudo-revolutionary twits exposed as the kind of fools who hold fundraisers for Hamas.

    I think that the Left thinks that they escaped being ‘persecuted’ by the Bush administration by the skin of their teeth. I also think that Bush knew about these idiots, in general if not in detail, and dismissed them as not worth bothering with. The Left always expects the Right (and the Left thinks of Bush as Right) to persecute on any pretext, because that’s what they do whenever they can.

  21. #21 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    The class warfare from the IRS agent is pretty hilarious.

    The line from the engineer is 100% on the nose, and something I (an engineer with an interest in mentorship and tutoring) struggle with all the time.

  22. #22 |  Jesse | 

    The demographic/ponzi aspect of SS is only half of the problem.

    The other half is that while SS ran a massive surplus for several decades, the US gov simply spent the extra in the general fund. The excess payroll taxes were never put away to benefit the retirees that paid in. Congress just treated the SS program as a piggy bank they could raid until the math caught up with them. Now it has.

  23. #23 |  Nancy Lebovitz |

    On-duty police officers get free sex from prostitutes more often than they make arrests. This is research about Chicago– generalizing to police elsewhere is plausible but not at all proven.

  24. #24 |  Big A | 

    #18 Ben- That is an excellent point. We have ADT “service” and have had numerous problems with this company. With all the running around etc, I never once considered that if ADT actually did their job successfully (ha!) and alerted the police in a timely manner, do I actually want police support? I’ve been reading The Agitator for years. Shame!

  25. #25 |  Highway | 

    I like how most of the “What people don’t get about my job” is “They shouldn’t believe all that bad stuff!”, especially the government workers. The IRS person’s “No, really, I’m not going after ordinary people! I’m going after those ‘rich’ people! Trust me!” Or the Kindergarten teacher “I have to do all this other stuff!” or the Construction Worker “I’m not really standing around doing nothing!”

    Of course, the ones I liked were the Bass Player and Engineer (because I am both, so I’ll admit there could be some selective blindness). The Engineer explained why things that are boring to other people are exciting to him (and that’s how my job is also: Who wants to analyze a pond? Me!), and the Bass Player why the part of the music you don’t notice is just as important as the part you are looking at.

  26. #26 |  Whim | 

    Regarding the recurrent and depressing Puppycide themes:

    For some reason, postal carriers, UPS and Fed-Ex delivery personnel, and yard-care workers, and utility meter readers don’t go around shooting dogs. I’ve never heard of any of the foregoing actually shooting a dog.

    Is that because utility meter readers and postal carriers are actually braver than the police?

  27. #27 |  albatross | 


    Seems to me you’re in the process of justifying that jackboot on your neck by reflecting on how much harder the one on some leftist’s neck is pressing down. You might want to ask yourself whether that’s going to lead to your living in the kind of country you really want to live in.

    I don’t want to live in a country where anyone goes to jail, or spends years being followed around and bugged by the Keystone Stasi at DHS, for expressing the wrong political opinions, or having the wrong friends, or sending money to the wrong political groups, or reading the wrong stuff on the net.

    I also dont want to live in a country where the domestic spy agencies own the country, because they have the goods on so many powerful people that their budgets and powers are simply untouchable. Nor one where the national ethic is to salute everything in a uniform or carrying a badge. Nor one where there are various powerful people who can have you beaten, disappeared, tortured, or killed whenever they like.

    And yet, our post-9/11 security measures have moved us much closer to all of those things. We’ve built the infrastructure for a really ugly police state, including the compliant media and citizens. It’s just waiting for someone to turn that key. Sooner or later, someone will. Maybe Obama, maybe the next guy, maybe the one after that. Sooner or later, someone will see loss of power and jail time ahead of them unless they act, and some pesky protesters, journalists, or opposition politicians will be disappeared or arrested on terrorism charges or assassinated (far-left civil libertarian Obama has standing orders to assassinate at least one US citizen, so it’s not like this would be a new thing). Someday, some power struggle at the top will happen, and instead of the unthinkable thing you do to win being threaten to default on the debt, it will be to secure the assistance of the domestic spying apparatus and wreck the opposition party with scandals and blackmail. (if that last one had already happened, how would we tell?)

  28. #28 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    You entirely missed my point, but then I don’t really think I expressed it well. My position is that anti-terrorist activity by the State will be both intrusive (and thus high profile) AND useless, because of the social forces at work. Though it may sound like it I’m not really condemning those on the Left who got off playing Radical Chic games; it may have been abysmally stupid, but so are a number of my own hobbies. It was socially acceptable at the time, for one reason or another, and I’m not calling for a blacklist. I think that a fair amount of anti-war fervor can be traced to people who are now uncomfortably aware of what they were supporting with their Radical Chic games, but who lack the moral courage to say “I was a fool” (which courage, BTW, I am not claiming for myself); so the War MUST be wrong because if it isn’t then they have been fools.

    I’m not saying these are awful people. I’m not claiming to be morally superior. I’m saying they did something stupid and it has put them in a position where their actions are dictated not by moral outrage, but by a desire to cover up the hind ends (which I’ve certainly done in my time).

    Like a husband who can’t imagine being forgiven by his wife (yes, I’m talking about me) for being a fool, when in fact she doesn’t even get mad, the Left imagines that if their foolishness comes out the rest of the country will attack or shun them. I personally suspect that all but the most brainless of the Right and Center will remember “let he who is without sin” and “people who live in glass houses”. But you couldn’t have told me that I already had my Lady’s forgiveness until the moment I HAD to ask for it.

    So a great deal of energy is dumped into Anti-Terrorism with unstated but firm goals of being very high profile (to placate those who want the government to “do something”) and at the same time not turning over any rocks, because of what might get found.

    Does that sound like a description of the S. O. P. pf Homeland security?

  29. #29 |  supercat | 

    #22 | Jesse | “Congress just treated the SS program as a piggy bank they could raid until the math caught up with them. Now it has.”

    Those in power have escaped getting lynched by successfully equivocating about whether, or to what extent, SS represents money owed to people, i.e. a bona fide debt. If it indeed represents a debt, then the treasury instruments the government writes itself are part of the national debt, and should be recorded as such. If they do not represent a debt, then those responsible for maintaining the SS “lockbox” should be prosecuted for gross fiscal malfeasance. Unfortunately, the government is simultaneously able to tell anyone who looks at their “lockbox” that it represents a debt, while telling those who look at the overall debt picture that it does not.

  30. #30 |  James | 

    What the fuck is ‘Radical Chic’? A burberry keffiyeh?

    Actually, reading through the rest of your word salad, I’m quite content you’re using some sort of ‘shitposting dartboard’.

  31. #31 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 



    Then, eat your salad. It’s good for you.

  32. #32 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #23: It’s “free sex” like stolen goods are “free” for the thief. We have a special word for stealing sex from a woman by force or threat of force; it’s “rape”.

  33. #33 |  Robert | 

    ADT will call whomever you specify. Just specify yourself (your cell phone). Our alarm company for the office where I work calls me, and then if I *ask* that they call the sheriff, then they will. I usually just go and check the place out myself ( well, me, Mr Smith, Mr Wesson and Mr Mossburg ) cause I’m so close I can get there much much quicker

  34. #34 |  Frank Hummel | 


    You are entirely correct. However, even so, having a monitored alarm system is still not economically sound (~$30mth monitor vs ~100/yr insurance savings). True, there’s a fire alarm component to it, so i agree the usefulness of it being monitored is debatable.

  35. #35 |  Robert | 

    @34 As long as you are not under contract (buy and install system yourself) you can shop around for monitoring companies that will do it for much cheaper. Average homeowner is not going to do this though..

  36. #36 |  KBCraig | 

    A random link worth noting: up to “90 percent of the people on death row” in Texas could be affected by challenging medical examiners who haven’t properly completed written oaths of offices or (anti-)bribery statements.

  37. #37 |  supergee | 

    I think using torture on Stossel is a bit much.

  38. #38 |  omar | 

    @ albatross

    Never talk to CSP. He is a well-read troll. Nothing he says ever makes sense, is always full of bile, and seems to live in a far off Cold War past. But he writes well and has read a lot of books.

    FWIW, I’ve read Radical Chic, and it has nothing to do with “modern liberals” who are hiding their radical past. It’s a book about limousine liberal radicals who think they’re tough but aren’t. The contemporary generation of the characters are now older than my parents, and I’m in my 30s.

  39. #39 |  Elliot | 

    The “Green Subsidies and Corruption” link you provide, as well as stories like Al Gore in 24-hour propaganda blitz, are good reasons why unqualified statements, like the one you made August 29 (“Lunch Links”) that, “I’ve written before that I believe AGW is real,” are really not helpful.

    Al Gore and many of the people pushing “green” “solutions” are carpet baggers and they are bilking taxpayers and strangling the free market, based upon alarmist predictions of catastrophic AGW.

    When you don’t specify how much you think AGW affects climate, whether you agree with the alarmists or you accept that there is an unknown amount (as skeptics fully acknowledge), the greenies who have fallen for these charlatans assume you support them.

    I am glad to see you acknowledging the fraud surrounding “green” activism, though.

  40. #40 |  Jack |

  41. #41 |  IRS Employee: "Now More Than Ever My Job Has Become One of Ridicule and Despise" - Hit & Run : | 

    […] Via Radley Balko. […]