Morning Links

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
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49 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Mario | 

    Twice, [the woman who was arrested] said, the officer told her not to call him by a specific foul term.

    “I said, ‘Sir, I never used that word.’ ”

    No doubt he was hearing things: the unspoken truth about his unspeakable actions.

    I rarely defend police, but here I’m thinking it’s possible that there is another side to the story. Nevertheless, it doesn’t excuse what the officer did. Emotionally mature people working as police officers ought to be looking to deescalate situations, not throw their weight around because someone didn’t show them the “proper deference” they consider themselves entitled to. But, I’m willing to entertain the possibility that the rich little girl from Westchester got mouthy.

  2. #2 |  Radley Balko | 

    But, I’m willing to entertain the possibility that the rich little girl from Westchester got mouthy.

    Given the circumstances, I think some mouthiness would have been justified, regardless of the gender, social status, or geographic origin of the person who was wrongly arrested.

  3. #3 |  Mattocracy | 

    I’m sure if we ended a lot of corporate welfare, the income gap would also narrow.

  4. #4 |  Lucy Steigerwald | 

    Yeah. I’m not sure how and why we got to the point where mouthiness is criminal, but it’s quite disturbing.

    Not as disturbing as what lurks behind “at least it wasn’t the Virgin Mary.” Man am I not clicking on that.

  5. #5 |  Marty | 

    re the Righthaven story- Marc Randazza is a true badass.

  6. #6 |  Matt | 

    The problem most people are pointing to in terms of US income inequality is not necessarily that it has been getting significantly worse in the past few years, it’s that the US is ranked essentially last out of developed countries (beating only Turkey and China) and has a Gini coefficient more in line with Kenya, Iran and Ghana than Canada, Germany or Britain.

  7. #7 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    recording incident…
    no surprise that it happened in Lantana, Palm Beach County, Flwhoreida.
    I’ve never seen so many bored, money-hungry cops per acre than that
    god-forsaken place…
    And why are cops still arresting people for recording with
    a 50 game lose streak in court? Trying to be the Biggest Losers?

  8. #8 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Florida is one of a small number of states that require that all parties consent to the recording of a conversation.” according to Palm Beach Post.http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/man-arrested-after-recording-conversation-with-pbso-deputies-1944991.html

  9. #9 |  omar | 

    About 40,000 people a year — the vast majority of them young black and Latino men — are fed like widgets onto a conveyor belt of arrest, booking and court, after being told to empty their pockets and thus commit the misdemeanor of “open display” of marijuana.

    Such arrests are a drain on the human economy.

    Quote of the day. What an awful thing to read.

  10. #10 |  Andrew S. | 

    Lantana cops are nowhere near as bad as Miami Beach cops. Though they’re still horrible.

  11. #11 |  Kristen | 

    Related to Yizmo’s comment: my parents live in a smallish, fairly affluent, very very very very low crime town in Western North Carolina, and I remarked last time I was there on how many cops I saw every time we would go out and about. They must get very bored….I wonder how many teenagers and rednecks they harass daily?

  12. #12 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    MADD and the anti-alcohol idiocy it inspires has become so counterproductive that I have to wonder what would turn up if someone insisted on a very public audit of the group.

    Of course, the squeals of outrage would probably be audible on the moon.

  13. #13 |  CJ | 

    RE: Income inequality

    That chart hardly “explodes the myth of income inequality.” One must certainly see that increasing inequality among families but not individuals supports the inference that family wealth is an influencing factor on one’s ability to earn in the first place, n’est-ce pas?

    AEI’s chart doesn’t support meritocracy, it shows nepotism.

  14. #14 |  Davis | 

    Income inequality in perspective.

    This link does not provide a very useful discussion of the issue. The Gini coefficient for both families and households is clearly trending upward in the data presented there, and the author simply elides over that fact. Moreover, it’s pretty clear that the coefficient has been steadily increasing in the U.S. since the late 70s/early 80s.

  15. #15 |  cjdavis | 

    RE: Income inequality

    Well here’s an odd confluence of commenters’ names.

    Anyway, that the graph would start in 1994 seems to have a pretty obvious problem with cherry picking. Anybody have data / graphs that go back farther in time?

  16. #16 |  TX Swede | 

    #12, CJ – Your last line made me snort out my coffee. Well played.

  17. #17 |  Juice | 

    The American Enterprise Institute? Yikes.

  18. #18 |  Juice | 

    According to the Economist piece more people are supposed to go to college now? The obvious solution to skyrocketing costs is to increase demand, I guess.

  19. #19 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Does everyone understand that there will ALWAYS be a 1%?

    Mind blown (I went to public schools).

  20. #20 |  Sam | 

    I am always impressed when the richest’s defenders can find a way to say that the annual increase in salary enjoyed by the richest is no big deal. To put that another way, would you rather have your pay increase by 275 percent over thirty years or would you rather have your pay increase by 40 percent over thirty years. Because that’s what the rich enjoyed versus what the middle class enjoyed.

    To put that another way, income inequality is a dangerous distraction when you’re one of the ones winning the game; it’s a huge problem when you’re on the losing end of it.

  21. #21 |  la Rana | 

    Radley,

    I agree with you on almost everything you write about, and I think history will render you on the right side.

    But for god sakes please think a little more carefully about inequality and economics generally. You regularly sound like an idiot and link to things that are obviously skewed (arguing that there has been no relatively rapid transfer of wealth upward in the past 30 years is like arguing that the sky is green) or a jumbled mess of well-intentioned confusion, i.e. Will Wilkinson (I love the guy, but he couldn’t clearly tell you his name).

    Please. Think about it some more. CATO/libertarians/etc. may be right most of the time, but on this issue they are profoundly wrong.

  22. #22 |  nigmalg | 

    (2) “Oral communication” means any oral communication uttered by a person exhibiting an expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation and does not mean any public oral communication uttered at a public meeting or any electronic communication.

    In the State of Florida, it’s a hard argument to suggest a police officer acting in official capacity, in public, expects the conversation to be “private”. Especially since they’re recording both video and audio of their subjects.

    The sun-sentinel is in fact wrong about that one

  23. #23 |  ClubMedSux | 

    I think the danger of the whole income inequality debate is letting conclusions drive the facts instead of vice versa. I’m not sure what the truth is about income inequality, but I find the AEI link to be dubious at best. At any rate, I’m starting to suspect that the income gap debate will turn out like the global warming debate, where everybody gets suckered into a binary yes-or-no debate when in reality the debate should be “what do we do about it?” Personally, I’m not troubled by an income gap per se so long as standards of living are rising across the board. I am, however, concerned that government policy is removing crucial market features and, as a result, contributing to wealth inequality (*cough* *cough* *bailouts* *cough*).

  24. #24 |  Radley Balko | 

    “Florida is one of a small number of states that require that all parties consent to the recording of a conversation.”

    The law also has an expectation of privacy provision, which doesn’t apply to public spaces, and especially doesn’t apply to public officials on duty in public spaces.

  25. #25 |  Public Outrage | 

    Creative solutions to difficult problems: NYPD drug detectives plant cocaine on innocent people in order to meet arrest quotas. You stay classy, Brooklyn.

  26. #26 |  derfel cadarn | 

    As usual NYPD officers showing their high level of professionalism. I would wager that if these outstanding specimens of NYPD competence had not come along this young lady would have absconded with the entire park and sold it on the black market. Seemingly there were no rapists or murderers to apprehend these fine fellows picked up the nearest desperados. To the NYPD keep up the good work,I feel safer already. STUPID BASTARDS

  27. #27 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    …would you rather have your pay increase by 275 percent over thirty years or would you rather have your pay increase by 40 percent over thirty years. Because that’s what the rich enjoyed versus what the middle class enjoyed.

    I’m OK with any % as long as it is a fair and open market in capitalism. But we don’t have that. We have “crapitalism” to use someone else’s term.

    Size of the gap isn’t the root cause. Create a free market that is open to competition and let people live.

  28. #28 |  Mattocracy | 

    What Boyd Durkin said.

    I never understood why its such a big deal some people have more money than others. The fact that my salary in in the mid five figures and others are making 7 or more doesn’t make my quality of life any less substantial.

    What matters is my purchasing power. Inflation has bigger impact on that than who’s getting paid what.

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    “Income inequality in perspective.”

    I don’t really care much about income inequality except when corporate executives get bonuses measured in the billions immediately after being rescued from disaster with hard-earned taxpayer money also measured in the billions. I wonder how many people remember that whenever someone mentions the words “income inequality”.

    Most of the people suffering under this recession aren’t real sophisticated when it comes to economics. They just know that, when the lights went off, they were violently fucked in the ass, and when the lights came back on, everyone was pointing at someone else as being the perpetrator.

    I’m an unwavering libertarian and a staunch supporter of capitalism. I know who is to blame for the current problems, but given a choice between a rich investment banker or a Congressman, it would be a tough choice as to whom I would prefer to kick in the nuts as hard as I can. Regardless of any justification you can suggest, it would be hard to imagine a way that Wall Street bankers could have sent a more arrogant and insulting message to ordinary working people than those huge bonuses.

  30. #30 |  JOrz | 

    #20 Sam – I think you’re falling into the trap of thinking that these are the same people over 30 years, but they’re not. People are constantly being added and subtracted to the “Rich” club and for that matter the “Poor” club as well.

  31. #31 |  Don't comment much | 

    Woman arrested, jailed for two nights for being in a public park after it had closed, then not having ID.

    I expect in the not so distant future to read a story like this:

    Woman in ICU Arrested

    A woman, known only as Jane Doe, was arrested at City Hospital ICU today.

    Before she lapsed into a coma, she stated that she had been robbed of her purse, raped, bludgeoned and left for dead about noon yesterday in City Park. She was discovered by maintenance workers last night in City Park, barely conscious and lying in a pool of blood.

    Today, police came to City Hospital ICU and arrested the woman on charges of being unlawfully in City Park after closing time, aggravated by failure to carry a lawful ID at all times.

    Police said they have made adequate consideration for her health in making the arrest at this time. “She will remain handcuffed to the ICU bed until she regains consciousness; then she will be transported to City Jail to be housed until arraignment”, an unidentified police officer said.

  32. #32 |  Sam | 

    JOrz,

    Really? The rich are losing their money? I’d like to see literally any evidence of that. Meanwhile, yes, plenty of people are being added the poor club, mostly by shifts in the economy engineered by the rich people that you’re anxious to explain away.

  33. #33 |  Kristen | 

    I never understood why its such a big deal some people have more money than others.

    This.

    (and believe you me, I’m faaaaaaaar from rich. Very, very far)

  34. #34 |  yonemoto | 

    “The US Marshal for the District of Nevada has just been authorized by a federal court to use “reasonable force” to seize $63,720.80 in cash and/or assets from the Las Vegas copyright troll after Righthaven failed to pay a court judgment from August 15.”

    At what expense to the taxpayer? And who gets the cash?

  35. #35 |  StrangeOne | 

    Its not that person A has more money than person B, its that the top 10% or 1% have measures of wealth X orders of magnitude greater than the 90% or 99%. Ia free market society with fairly applied laws there is social mobility and the open competition allows many to accumulate wealth while limiting others from easily ammassing great amounts of it.

    Disparity of wealth is not a problem in of itself, it is a sypmtom of a society with a tightly controlled economy. Which if kept too tight will be strangeled by the eventual social unrest caused by the elimination of a middle class.

    The extreme degree of corporate welfare in the US puts us in the ranks of the either very corrupt or outright statist economies of many third world countries, in terms of wealth disparity.

    The only reason it isn’t a bigger issue is that America is SO rich that even our poor have been pretty well off within our country. But that is changing, generations of prison populations, the extreme lack of jobs (especially for young people), the increase of basic good costs due to a changing global economy, the inflation of the dollar, the diminishing ability to recieve healthcare and basic government services are all contributing to making the poor not only poorer, but less happy. It won’t be pretty if it continues.

  36. #36 |  John P. | 

    The NYPD is always good for a dozen or so stories a week detailing uniformed human stupidity at its finest…

    I will be glad when the public finally realizes the cops are no longer our friends…

  37. #37 |  AlgerHiss | 

    After a year of free information from the National Motorist’s Association, I joined. These people make the old AAA look like the crap they truly became.

    NMA is your friend.

  38. #38 |  Radley Balko | 

    …are all contributing to making the poor not only poorer, but less happy.

    This is demonstrably false. The poor in the U.S. have a higher standard of living than they’ve ever had in before. They live better than the middle class did a half century ago. They live longer, their children have lower rates of mortality, they’re far less likely to die of preventable diseases. They also live in more comfort, and with more amenities. Whether or not the gap between rich and poor is growing is open to debate. (Though some on the left compare even questioning the idea to Holocaust denial.) But there’s no evidence whatsoever for the idea that the poor are getting poorer.

  39. #39 |  supercat | 

    Of the seven deadly sins, six represent good things taken to excess. Envy, however, is not a good thing in any quantity. It causes great unhappiness, and is neither necessary nor useful in any measure.

    The notion that income equality should be considered desirable, is fundamentally nothing more than a manifestation of envy. To be sure, some wealthy people are able to use their wealth to buy preferential treatment from governments, and that is a problem, but in the absence of such preferential government treatment, the primary way by which people acquire wealth for themselves is by producing it for others. Someone whose company sells ten million widgets for $1 each for which people would have been willing to pay $1.20 will, in the process, make the buyers of those widgets $2,000,000 better off than they otherwise would have been. If he spends $1,000,000 on workers, who would otherwise have only been able to get $900,000, he has caused those workers to be $100,000 better off than they otherwise would have been. Wealth in the hands of such entrepreneurs will do more to benefit society than would wealth more evenly distributed in the hands of people who would not use it for such purposes.

    To be sure, not all people who accumulate wealth do so by benefiting others. Some people instead accumulate wealth by having government steal it for them. The actions of such people should be curtailed, but attempts to empower the government to do so almost invariably instead allow the crooks to more effectively use the government to steal more money.

  40. #40 |  JOR | 

    “I never understood why its such a big deal some people have more money than others.”

    I can name one very simple reason: money buys guns (and goons to use them for you). Guns (and goons to use them for you) make laws.

  41. #41 |  Davis | 

    The poor in the U.S. have a higher standard of living than they’ve ever had in before.

    The problem is that research suggests happiness may correlate to relative income, rather than absolute income. So even though the poor of today are better off than those of 50 years ago, they are going to be less happy if their relative economic status is lower. (I suspect that this is what some people mean when they say the poor are getting “poorer” — that they’re getting relatively poorer.)

  42. #42 |  noseeum | 

    Radlley, that income perspective article shows your inherent bias. When you put some effort into it, you’re able to overcome it and produce good work. But when you’re just posting links, it seems you sometimes don’t dig very deep and you’re bias inevitably comes through. Don’t worry we all have them.

    But you’re better than that. Sure, you’d like there to be evidence that income inequality in the US is perfectly fine and not getting worse. What better way to do that than to compare the US only to itself and start only at 1994? And even doing that the news is not so hot.

    And don’t hide behind the fact you simply linked without comment. Linking without comment to complete poppycock may as well be an endorsement.

    Why not look at our Gini coefficient over a longer time frame? http://oneutah.org/national-politics/the-gini-index/

    This is not a libertarian issue, a democratic issue, or a republican issue. This is a pitchfork issue. Rich people better realize soon that this income inequality has to change, for their own sake. The regular people don’t need a lot, but if you don’t give them enough, they can still afford pitchforks and torches. That’s just the way the world works.

  43. #43 |  la Rana | 

    “Whether or not the gap between rich and poor is growing is open to debate. (Though some on the left compare even questioning the idea to Holocaust denial.)”

    This is just stupid, literally: self-determined, reinforced ignorance. I am sorry that all of your friends hate the fact that there has been an enormous transfer of wealth upwards in the past 30 years, but you can’t just sprinkle pixie dust on it and make the numbers go away.

  44. #44 |  Sam | 

    Radley,

    If you’re going to go to bat for modern poverty, I can only assume that what you’re saying is that you’d be entirely comfortable living on a minimum wage salary, right? And, if you had any children, that they’d be entirely comfortable living on your minimum wage salary, right?

  45. #45 |  twency | 

    #41 Davis “The problem is that research suggests happiness may correlate to relative income, rather than absolute income. So even though the poor of today are better off than those of 50 years ago, they are going to be less happy if their relative economic status is lower.”

    Yeah, people always want what they don’t have, and are envious of those who have more. (I know I am.) But that doesn’t change the fact that the poor (and the middle class) are on average _much_ better off than they were 50 years ago.

  46. #46 |  Davis | 

    Yeah, people always want what they don’t have, and are envious of those who have more. (I know I am.) But that doesn’t change the fact that the poor (and the middle class) are on average _much_ better off than they were 50 years ago.

    And I explicitly acknowledged that. But there are two reasons that this doesn’t end the discussion. (1) As a group the poor are better off, but individuals generally don’t see significant improvements on the time scales that matter. (2) Happiness matters — and not just to the folks who are unhappy. Having a sizable portion of the populace who feels discontent over falling further and further behind will likely: (a) increase crime rates, and (b) in the long run possibly result in people taking up pitchforks and torches. (And in the latter case, the fact that they’re objectively better off just means that they’ll be both healthier and better able to afford more dangerous weapons.)

  47. #47 |  Sam | 

    This argument about the poor being better off than they were 20 years is a good one. But why stop at 20 years? Think about how much better off they are now than they would have been 220 years ago. Or 2220 years ago! If only the poors would think about that when they’re finding it impossible to afford housing, medical insurance, schooling, etc…

  48. #48 |  supercat | 

    //#41 | Davis | “The problem is that research suggests happiness may correlate to relative income, rather than absolute income.”

    Perhaps, but a much stronger causal relationship exists between people who allow themselves to be manipulated into being unhappy, and those who are unhappy.

    Many evil people, throughout history, have discovered a wonderful formula for obtaining wealth and/or power: (1) Identify some people who think their life isn’t perfect; (2) Convince those people that you care about them, and want to make them happy; (3) Pursuade those people to act in a certain way which (3.1) they will think is making them happier, but (3.2) whose side-effects will in reality cause them to be more unhappy without realizing why.

    If one really wants to end misery the world, one should teach people how to recognize and resist the malfacteurs who exploit the above formula, and recognize that many efforts that are supposedly aimed at improving overall happiness by reducing inequality are in fact nothing more than the third step in various malfacteurs’ efforts to promote discord in their pursuit of power.

  49. #49 |  supercat | 

    #46 | Davis | “Happiness matters — and not just to the folks who are unhappy.”

    Indeed, happiness does matter. The notion, however, that one can spread happiness by “sharing the wealth”, however, is an evil falsehood. Acceding to efforts to “share the wealth” in the hope that they will ease social discord is a horrible policy. People are miserable and dissatisfied with their lot in life largely because evil people have convinced them that the best way to improve their lot in life is to act dissatisfied with it, rather than doing anything that would actually improve it. Giving in to such people in any measure reinforces the notion that those who aren’t unhappy simply aren’t acting sufficiently dissatisfied.

    Once upon a time, there used to be a common aspiration shared by many rich and poor alike: to give one’s children’s a better station in life than one’s own. The evil spreaders of discord want to destroy that dream for everyone. If an industrious person cannot, by his efforts, allow his children to have a better life than they would without such efforts, what can he aspire to?

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