Morning Links

Monday, November 28th, 2011
  • The Bernie Fine story keeps getting stranger. His wife apparently had an affair with one of his accusers. Another accuser’s father says he’s lying, and the accuser is himself facing sexual assault charges. Two of the accusers are also step-brothers. None of which means Fine is innocent. It just means we should probably wait a bit longer before assuming he’s guilty.
  • Fed gave biggest banks billions in secret, low-interest loans.
  • With the exception of the last one, I’m fairly sure every category of ads in this article has been run against a prominent male politician.
  • Tennessee constables get kickbacks from the state for writing citations.
  • Heard an ad for the site on Sirius the other day. Your thoughts? Disgusting, or just a more transparent way of dating? Both?
  • Emma Sullivan, hero of the week.
  • Washington State law to take effect next month is likely to make it yet more difficult for pain patients to find doctors who will treat them.
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45 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  perlhaqr | 

    Fed gave biggest banks billions in secret, low-interest loans.

    In a different way than it gives them all the money it prints to loan out at a stupidly low rate to the rest of us, thereby making them rich, essentially for free?

  2. #2 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Fed gave biggest banks billions in secret, low-interest loans.

    I struggle with deciding if this is a “dog bites man” story because this is what the Fed does…Standard Operating Procedure. Sure, it isn’t usually for >$US1 Trillion in a single day. Remember that these bailouts were used to pay massive salaries, bonuses, and keep investors in the dark about balance sheets (investor fraud in my book) which helped keep bank stocks from crashing. A lot of important people’s wealth is tied up in bank stocks, so you can understand the urgency Hank Paulson and others had. Uhm…scumbag capitalism*?

    Remember with me back before 2007 when you were labeled “bat shit insane”–by people who didn’t know what the Fed was–if you supported either abolishing the Fed or calling for an audit.

    *That’s a joke.

  3. #3 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    RE: How to Attack Female Politicians

    Now ima have “Give me your cash, bitch” in my head all day.

    For those of you that haven’t seen it, it is revolting and insulting at the same time as being insane. But damn my hellish heart if it isn’t catchy.

  4. #4 |  Bob | 

    Wait… wait…

    From the Emma Sullivan story…

    But Brownback’s office, which monitors social media for postings containing the governor’s name

    What kind of dirtbag shit is that? Wasting time monitoring this stuff is one thing, but actively attempting to squelch people? Dirt bag alert! Oh noes! His goons are probably reading this!

  5. #5 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    RE; attack ads. The media is always horrified when Republicans run campaign ads that are as mean as the ads that Democrats run routinely. And those few outlets that lean the other way are always horrified by any Democrat ads that look effective. It has gotten to the point where the only complaint about campaign ads that I am willing to entertain is “This particular ad is a lie”, and I want to see documentation. If you aren’t prepare to have the opposition question your ethics, morality, ancestry, species, intelligence, and sexual preferences, then you are too delicate a flower to run for office in a country with freedom of speech.

    Re; Emma Sullivan. From what I can tell, I doubt that I agree with her on much (she’s bent out of shape about cuts in art funding? Really?) but somebody needs to tell that principal where to head in, and I’m delighted that she’s ready to do it.

    Re; Washington State and pain meds. Just how many overdoses are we talking about here? Vs how many chronic pain patients? And, when you get right down to it, why should we give a good goddamn about the overdoses? Did somebody hold them down and stuff the drugs down their throats with a stick? I’m sorry if it makes me sound callous, but the whole War On Drugs strikes me as a classic example of Mencken’s Law in action;

    “Whenever A annoys of injures B on the pretext of saving or improving X, A is a scoundrel.”

  6. #6 |  Stephen | 

    Curious what Maggie has to say about whatsyourprice.com :)

    Not disgusting but they would not exist if prostitution wasn’t illegal.

  7. #7 |  Sam | 

    Radley, can you explain how an audio tape of the alleged attacker’s wife apparently admitting her own suspicions about her husband should make us less likely to believe the accusers?

  8. #8 |  GaryM | 

    I’ve written an email to the school principal politely suggesting that the governor intimidated him but he can set things right by apologizing to Emma Sullivan.

  9. #9 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    #6: I’m very happy to see sites like whatsyourprice.com; the more mainstream prostitution becomes, and the more advertising venues we have to advertise in, the harder it will be for the anti-whore fanatics to characterize us all as pathetic drug-addled victims incapable of adult choice, and the more futile police efforts to “crack down” on consensual adult sexual activity will be.

    I’ve gone on record as saying that I think prostitution will not be decriminalized in the U.S. via legislative action but rather by judicial fiat as so many other civil rights issues (notably Roe vs. Wade) have been, and sites like whatsyourprice will help to create the climate which will promote such decisions. The only thing which has allowed anti-prostitute legislation to stand as long as it has is the popular pretense that whores are fundamentally different from other women, and anything which further smudges the already-indistinct line will help to debunk that myth.

  10. #10 |  Mike | 

    Here’s one for consumption:

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/11/26/131421/north-carolinas-death-row-racial.html

    North Carolina’s death-row racial bias law may be dropped

    Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/11/26/131421/north-carolinas-death-row-racial.html#ixzz1f169sKKI
    “For years, death row inmates and other prisoners have been able to challenge their sentences on grounds that racial bias played a role in their cases.

    But it was not until North Carolina lawmakers adopted the Racial Justice Act in 2009 that judges in this state have been able to weigh statistics while hearing such complaints.”

  11. #11 |  Matt | 

    The non-apologizing student is pretty awesome, but my enthusiasm is dampened a bit when I see that the reason she has a beef with Mr. Brownback was that he cut art funding. Why should we publicly fund art to begin with? It doesn’t make any sense to me.

  12. #12 |  JBaldwin | 

    A little less romantic than, “Hey mister, wanna date?”

  13. #13 |  Brandon | 

    “But Brownback’s office, which monitors social media for postings containing the governor’s name, saw Sullivan’s post and contacted the Youth in Government program…”

    The Kansas State government hasn’t had enough budget cuts if they can still afford an Office of Big Brother.

  14. #14 |  Andrew S. | 

    Radley, can you explain how an audio tape of the alleged attacker’s wife apparently admitting her own suspicions about her husband should make us less likely to believe the accusers?

    Because suspicions aren’t enough one way or another, she denied it to the investigators the school had hired in 2005, and her words may or may not have been clouded by the fact that she was having an affair with the person she was talking to on the phone?

    Look. I’m a bit biased here as a Syracuse alumnus. But all Radley said is to not convict the guy based on what the media’s saying. It’s nothing close to what happened at Penn State, and it’s not an open-and-shut case.

  15. #15 |  Brandon | 

    “Brownback has argued….that state funds should go to core government functions, such as education and social services.”

    And monitoring fucking social media for postings containing the governor’s name?

  16. #16 |  Radley Balko | 

    Radley, can you explain how an audio tape of the alleged attacker’s wife apparently admitting her own suspicions about her husband should make us less likely to believe the accusers?

    Where did I write that? Obviously the tape makes the accusers more credible. Though you probably also need need to consider that according to the linked article, the wife and the alleged victim she’s talking to in the tape also had an affair.

    All I’m saying the case is really odd, and only getting odder. And that it’s prudent to withhold judgment until we know more.

  17. #17 |  Sam | 

    @ 14

    It isn’t like what happened at Penn State? A coach of a highly successful team is accused of molesting children, then nothing is done about it? It looks awfully similar from an outsider’s perspective.

  18. #18 |  Andrew S. | 

    At Penn State, the school covered it up. First in 1998, and then later in 2002. Neither time was it ever taken to the police. Sandusky was allowed to continue his activities on campus while the school had actual knowledge of a crime that had been committed and that crimes were ongoing.

    At Syracuse, the first accuser went to the police in 2003 regarding abuse that had happened in the past. The Syracuse Police Department declined to investigate because the statute of limitations had expired. Davis reported the alleged abuse to the school in 2005. The school hired an outside investigator to conduct an investigation. The investigation took four months. Bernie Fine and his wife both denied anything had happened. Additionally, Davis had given the school a list of people whom he said would corroborate his story — and all of them declined to do so. As a result, at the end of the day, based on that investigation, the allegations were not provable.

    I have no clue if Bernie Fine is guilty or not. But Jim Boeheim is not Joe Paterno, and the two situations, outside of being major sports college programs and involving assistant coaches, are not the same.

  19. #19 |  Andrew S. | 

    And to add, both ESPN and the Syracuse Post-Standard received information about this in 2003, and neither entity would report it due to a lack of corroboration.

  20. #20 |  johnl | 

    My complaint against the non-apologising student is that she lied to her twitter followers. And if she had said something to the governor about the budget, the governor would have had a fair opportunity to school the girl properly.

  21. #21 |  Jack Jackson | 

    I predict a Justice Department investigation for whatsyourprice.com.
    My question is, if it’s legal to get a girl drunk and have sex with her, but it’s illegal to pay her to have sex, is paying for the date but then getting her drunk for the sex legal?

  22. #22 |  MassHole | 

    I think my complaint is who the fuck should care what some high school kid wrote on twitter, true or not. Brownback and the principal should have better things to do and come across as less mature than the high school senior.

  23. #23 |  Goober | 

    It is obvious that these politicians have never been pain patients.

    I have a severe case of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The latter manifested itself somewhere around my 27th birthday as an extrememly painful case of anlyosing spondylitis (arthritis of the lower spine) – debilitatingly so. I have a desk job and i could hardly even do that. I have two ruptured discs as a result of the spondylitis. I was on opiods for a short period of time before I qualified to start taking biologic medication -you’ve seen the ads for Enbrel and Raptiva and Humira and so forth on the television, I’m sure.

    At the time, the only one in existence was Enbrel, and very little was known about it. It had obtained a provisional approval for use on people, but there was a lot of fear about the tests showing an increase in neurological disorders and lymphoma among the test subjects. My doctor discussed the dangers with me at the time, and told me that no one really knew what the consequnces of long term use were. I had just spent 20 months on my back, literally unable to do much of anything but suffer in ways that I cannot even put to words. Add to the fact that I was covered over 80% of my body in an itching, burning, painful psoriatic rash, and you can get a picture of my problem. I am not a wimp, either. I’m an ex-football player that pushed through a State championship with a broken arm – playing through only a few days after the injury. This was absolutely debilitating pain. Like I said, I cannot describe it and do not expect anyone who hasn’t experienced it to even understand.

    When the Dr. told me of the risks, I summed it up simply by saying “So this will either kill me or cure me, right?” He reluctantly nodded.

    My response? “Go for it, Doc, because either way I get relief.”

    I was ready to die rather than continue to live hoplessly in pain. It is entirely possible that Enbrel will kill me someday becasue the long term effects are still unknown. It has only existed since 1998, after all. I don’t care. Every day I’ve lived since the day I started taking it – more or less pain free, I might add – has been a freebie: a day I would never have seen if I hadn’t been allowed to take Enbrel.

    Some pain patients do not have wonder drugs to save them, as I was lucky enough to have a condition that has a wonder drug to cure it. Some pain patients only have opiods, and many of them would agree with me that even if the opiods kill them someday, that at least they had X number of days where the pain was under control as a result of the pain killers – days that they likely would never have had if it weren’t for the drug. Freebies, as I call them.

    Another thing to point out is that the FDA requires most opiods to be mixed with a drug that will kill you if you take too much (usually tylenol) so that it can’t be abused, and most “overdoses” of opiods are actually liver failures associated with the tylenol, not the opiod itself. This government is so afraid that someone, somewhere, is getting high, that they willingly risk the health and well-being of people in pain to prevent recreational use of the drug (and the recreational use isn’t really prevented, anyway.) Could the problem be solved by allowing use of opiods without liver killing drugs mixed in? I don’t know, but why not try it?

  24. #24 |  Goober | 

    That being said, I found during the 20 months stint of suffering that opiods just weren’t for me. I had to choose between the pain or being sick as a dog and dizzy all the time. When one got too bad, I went with the other for a while until it got too bad and I switched back. That is no way to live, folks. It really isn’t. My heart aches for every one of these people who suffer like I did and have no hope of getting out of it, as I was lucky enough to eventually have. I am under the firm belief that these deaths by overdose might not be nearly as “accidental” as we are being lead to believe. I suffered in pain for only 20 months and considered it on multiple occasions. I’m not ashamed to admit that.

    That being said, anyone who wants to bang on drug companies as being evil and heartless is going to have to go through me first, because it is my belief that the only reason that my beautiful 9 month old daughter even exists today is because Astra Zeneca saved my life.

  25. #25 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Goober,

    Tell it, my friend. Tell it!

    I am NOT a pain patient. I have never experienced any pain worse than a toothache, for which I am truly thankful. I have taken illegal drugs in the past but, frankly, didn’t see the attraction and haven’t had any for at least a decade. I even stopped drinking, more or less by accident (I moved, and found that I had a six pack leftover from a case I’d bought three years before).

    The way that “War on Drugs” hysteria trumps the needs of chronic pain sufferers is disgusting and barbaric. It is, or at least should be, a national scandal.

    Radley, or somebody, please check out “Another thing to point out is that the FDA requires most opiods to be mixed with a drug that will kill you if you take too much (usually tylenol) so that it can’t be abused, and most “overdoses” of opiods are actually liver failures associated with the tylenol, not the opiod itself.” If this is even slightly true, then the families of those that suffered overdoses should bring wrongful death suits. That’s vile.

  26. #26 |  Ashton | 

    ‘…most “overdoses” of opiods are actually liver failures associated with the tylenol, not the opiod itself.’

    Have you a source sir?

  27. #27 |  Sam | 

    Andrew,

    The other similarity worth noting, besides the fact that it involved assistant coaches at major college sports programs, is the nature of the allegations themselves. In fact, one might argue that is the first and most important similarity.

    The point regarding the investigations committed by the school and those news organizations is that they seemed to go quite well for the powerful athletic department that exists at Syracuse University. Its why people get suspicious, especially if a tape existed of the man’s wife saying she was concerned about his behavior.

  28. #28 |  derfel cadarn | 

    As usual the government got involved in something that is NOT their business. It is easy to say ban something or jump through all these hoops when you are not the one in pain. How can anyone else tell what is painful to you? This is one of the primary problems in America today,that the Nanny state assholes cannot mind their own fucking business. I am not a pain patient,I am a free thinking individual.

  29. #29 |  Andrew S. | 

    Sam, neither Syracuse University nor the Syracuse Police Department had any knowledge of the existence of the tape. The recording was taped by Davis (New York is a one-party consent state) and given to ESPN.

    There is no evidence that the school knew anything about this before 2005. All that was told to them was that it had happened, and that it had been reported to the police department who had declined to investigate in the past. The school did what they could. Since they knew (from the accuser himself) that the police would not do anything, the only thing they could really do is conduct their own investigation. They even did that the right way, in farming it out to an outside investigator (the investigation was done by a large Syracuse law firm) and not keeping it in-house.

    I’m not quite sure how much more the school could have done. To equate the two situations smacks of being too lazy to look at facts.

  30. #30 |  lunchstealer | 

    I think the evidence against Fine is pretty damning. He’s clearly guilty of coaching at Syracuse, and there’s no excuse for that.

  31. #31 |  Marty | 

    it’d be neat to be elected to a constable position just to mess with the cops and prosecutors.

  32. #32 |  KBCraig | 

    Emma Sullivan should apologize to her Twitter followers for claiming a bold political statement that she didn’t actually make.

    As for Brownback, it would have been polite to offer an apology, if this had been a simple case of internet bluster. But when the governor’s office pressured the school, who then made a disciplary demand on Miss Sullivan, then [b]hell no![/b]

  33. #33 |  Medicine Man | 

    The authoritarianism on display from Brownback is amazing. I wonder if he’d like to have a scepter to go with his office?

  34. #34 |  StrangeOne | 

    Boyd, even if it is a joke I think I’m going to use “scumbag capitalism” as the appropriate descriptor for the economy of today. Its easier than sorting through the ten thousand definitions of “capitalism” that float around. Phrases like “corporate capitalism” doesn’t seem to do it justice either as it includes the majority of corporations not in on the game, and also detracts from the coercive efforts of various unions and special intrests groups. Scumbag capitalism seems like a term just loaded enough to make the right point.

    And to Jack Jackson who said:

    My question is, if it’s legal to get a girl drunk and have sex with her…

    That actual is illegal in most states. Its statutory rape if the woman is legally intoxicated. Also note that I said “woman” and not person, because most of these statutes are one way. Many male freshman are warned as they go into college these days that even if both participants are blind drunk, the woman was raped. It frequently only requires the word of one party to get an arrest for this crime as well, which is of course has no potential for abuse. Its a nasty set of laws that have enshrined a bunch of sexist presumptions about each gender. That all women are less than legal adults and not responsible for their own actions, that all men are rapists in waiting, and that those two roles could never be reversed.

    If the “who was drunk” rule was fairly applied to both genders that would lead to crazy situations where the state declares two people to both be victim and predator, for an action that (even considering the unknown degree of impairment) both parties agreed too. It would call into question the effectiveness of government policing sex in the first place. The moral narrative only works if the woman is always the victim of unwanted sexual advances by a man. Thats the only way you can sell this kind of personal invasion to the public.

    As for the whatsyourprice website, I have to say I agree with George Carlin, who said “If it’s legal to sell things, and its legal to fuck, then why is it illegal to sell fucking?”

  35. #35 |  Andrew S. | 

    KBCraig, her only twitter followers before this were her friends. I’m pretty sure all of us embellished stuff when we were talking to our friends at that age.

    Anyways, this isn’t about her, outside of the fact that she shows uncommon guts for a teenager to stand up for what’s right and refuse to apologize. It’s about Brownback’s authoritarianism and paranoia. And it’s about the gutless principal. Both of them need to be tossed out on their asses.

  36. #36 |  Invid | 

    @ #18
    Two corrections – the ’98 incident did involve the police, apparently they were present in the home and recorded a phone conversation between Sandusky and the parents of the kid he showered with. That tape was given to the DA’s office and the prosecutor assigned to it decided there wasn’t enough to make a case on it.

    A few years later, that DA went missing and is now presumed dead so no one can ask why he decided not to move forward (my guess is that his disappearance is not related to this mess and he probably was pressured to drop it by the university). Not long after, Sandusky retired which was unexpected (probably pressued by the university) and part of the retirement package was giving the guy access to athletic facilities on campus (talk about a brilliant decision).

    The later incident involved McCreary reporting something to Paterno and Paterno reporting it to his superior who was a VP at the university who was also in charge of the campus police (who essentially have the same powers as the county police as I understand it) so technically the police were notified in both instances.

  37. #37 |  StrangeOne | 

    For the inclusion of tylonol in pain killers here is this article:
    http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm239894.htm

    Which states the FDA is lowering the max amount of acetaminophen (Tylonol active ingredient) and require clearer labeling as such, but it doesn’t mention if the acetaminophen is required by the FDA.

    But here’s an article from Time:
    http://healthland.time.com/2011/01/13/fda-cuts-acetaminophen-dose-in-opioid-painkillers/

    That specificly mentions that the inclusion of acetaminophen is to deter drug abuse, it even draws a prohibition parrallel about how poison was added to industrial alcohol to prevent people from people using it to get drunk. And that posioning alcohol probably killed about 10,000 people.

    It then goes on to laud the FDA for lostening its own requirement that is killing people. Many other articles I looked up are written in this way, effectively celebrating the FDA’s noble choice to kill less pain patients without even questioning why they would do something so monsterous in the first place.

  38. #38 |  croaker | 

    Can we have a two-minute hate for Governor Brownback? And how about some time in Room 101 for Karl R. Krawitz?

    (And I’ll lay odds that neither this fascist thug nor his staff nor the Quisling principal gets the reference. And they can all bite me.)

    @13 Word. Lots of fat in that office that needs to go.

    @33 Scepter, no. Jackboots, an asp, and a large can of pepper spray is more his speed. “Don’t mind me, just watering my hippies…”

    What’s the over/under on whatsyourprice.com being the first web site officially darkened under the proposed internet IP law that RIAA et al is pushing?

    New pain law: Far as I’m concerned, any thug with a badge, any prosecutor, any drug warrior in pain should be handed an Advil and told to suck it up. Same with their families. Wife is in labor? You don’t need an epidural. Thousands of women in the world give birth every day without pain meds.

  39. #39 |  Goober | 

    Ashton, Strangeone beat me to it. The last sentence in teh second link is particularly telling, the one claiming that the idea behind adding the tylenol is “clearly laudable”. So the author of that article would rather have people risking death by liver failure than have the audacity to get high.

    How is a policy that slowly erodes away the liver of even pain patients taking the drug by the label, just to make sure that nobody gets high, “clearly laudable?” The government would rather have you dead than high.

    The second article provides a link to the claim that more people die of tylenol overdose than opiod overdose, and also elaborates that an opioid overdose is easy to counteract, whereas there is no way to save a patient who has ODed on tylenol other than to cut out his liver and pray for a donor, but quick. Your government is not here to help you, folks.

  40. #40 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Goober, StrangeOne,

    Thanks for the links. I have to say this is not worse than I have come to expect from Prohibitionists. Bunch of swine, the lot of them.

  41. #41 |  Ted S. | 

    The Emma Sullivan case shows once again that when school officials talk about “bullying”, we need to remind them that the biggest bully of them all is the State.

  42. #42 |  cApitalist | 

    I’m in training as a pain fellow in New York State, maybe I can contribute something to the discussion.

    Hydrocodone is the only opioid I’m aware of that isn’t available in the US without tylenol. Per my wife, a pharmacist, it has decreased bioavailability without tylenol, so there is some scientific basis for including it in the formulation (this isn’t to say preventing abuse doesn’t also play a roll). Oxycodone, tramadol, and codeine are available with and without tylenol. Morphine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, and many others are not available in tylenol containing formulations as far as I know. Our clinic does not prescribe tylenol containing formulations because of concerns about liver toxicity.

    The clinic where I’m training has several thousand patients, I’ve worked here for five months, and I’d guess about 1/3 are on opioids. We’ve had one potential overdose that’s still under investigation and its unclear if it was intentional.

    Before I continue, let me preface by saying I have no love for the drug war, the State in general, or laws like this in particular, but opioids are not the panacea they’re oft made out to be. Libertarians, myself included, often commit the logical fallacy of assuming that just because the State is evil, anything it seeks to alleviate is inherently good. After all, the government prohibits murder, at least by private citizens.

    In very broad terms, opioids are great acute medications especially after surgeries and traumas. People with adequate acute pain control are much less likely to develop chronic pain. However, chronic opioid treatment for benign pain is a crap shoot. In my own experience, I’ve seen these drugs help and harm in roughly equal measure with the harm often occurring at the hands of compassionate primary care doctors before the patient has ever seen a specialist. While addiction, abuse, and overdose can all cause harm, I see many more patients with hyperalgesia, mood disorders, weight gain, and hormonal changes as a direct result of opioid treatment. These are not benign drugs, and you’ll find few people more reluctant to take them, or recommend them to family and friends, than the doctors who are most familiar with them.

    But, again, just so we’re clear: Fuck the drug war. Fuck the State. Fuck these laws. Mr. Balko, thanks for sparking the discussion.

  43. #43 |  Mark Z. | 

    “My question is, if it’s legal to get a girl drunk and have sex with her”

    It’s not legal, dumbass. It’s rape.

    Next question?

  44. #44 |  Mattocracy | 

    Sex while drunk is rape? Man, I’ve been raped a lot then.

    What about when I was stoned, or was asking for it then?

  45. #45 |  Jack Jackson | 

    “And to Jack Jackson who said:
    “My question is, if it’s legal to get a girl drunk and have sex with her…”
    That actual is illegal in most states. Its statutory rape if the woman is legally intoxicated.”

    Apparently I must revise my comment. Let me state clearly I was, and I am, only describing consensual activity. It sounds like one of those things that’s OK unless she says it’s not later. If she’s still happy when she sobers up, it’s still consensual. I’ve known many women who would get drunk so they could feel less guilty in the morning. And men who got drunk to convince themselves to lower their standards. I guess maybe they’ve all been raped.

    My new question is, “If it’s legal to provide alcohol to relax a woman not to the point of inebriation, but to the point where she’s ready to have sex…”

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