Morning Links

Thursday, January 26th, 2012
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47 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Mattocracy | 

    “Statistics would suggest that heroin hit its peak in King County in 1998. Data from the medical examiner indicates that fewer people are dying of heroin overdoses, just 50 in 2010 compared to 144 of 1998. But, the man who compiles those figures is concerned that the numbers are masking a deadly phenomenon.”

    Well of course he does. How else do you scare people shitless if the statistics don’t prove what you want people to believe?

  2. #2 |  Michael Chaney | 

    On “headline of the day”, the “slug” in the URL is interesting, too:

    Penguin Defecates Near Kentucky

    As someone who lives near Kentucky, I hope they’ll keep us updated on that one.

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    They need to make a film about the man who got 2 years solitary
    for DWI. Violations of right to speedy trial, due process, cruel/unusual
    punishment all wrapped in one tortilla.
    Shows how the system can drive you nuts and subsequently
    call you a nut and thereby keep you locked up indefinitely.
    Meanwhile Scooter Libby with numerous felony convictions never
    spent a minute in jail.

  4. #4 |  AlecN | 

    What will the Tea Party in Tennessee be demanding next? That the school no longer teach about the Trail of Tears? Japanese Internment? Plessy v. Ferguson? The Indian Wars?

    Realistically, I don’t know how you would even go about meeting their demands. Removing references to Founding Fathers encroaching on Native American lands, for instance – how would you possibly do that without either removing entire chunks of history from the textbooks or hopelessly confusing causes and effects. Knowledge of history in this country is poor enough as is.

    On the subject of unreasonable demands on school systems, here’s some anti-LGBT nonsense from Minnesota:

    http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2012/01/13/conservative-christian-parents-fight-right-discriminate-against-lgbt-students-anoka-

  5. #5 |  Don't comment much | 

    Re: Headline of the Day.

    Obviously a publicity stunt to discredit Linux.

    I blame Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.

  6. #6 |  Aresen | 

    I didn’t download the full article from the link on the Press Freedom rankings, but I am going to guess that one of the criteria in that press freedom index is the existence a “publicly sponsored” (i.e. government owned) television/radio system.

  7. #7 |  Chris Berez | 

    Weird.

    Indeed. And also kind of spooky, if we’re being honest.

  8. #8 |  Aresen | 

    I hope the Tennessee Tea Party puts in a good word for George III as well.

  9. #9 |  Brandon | 

    Aresen, that’s not a criterium. It’s based on the existence of some kind of Freedom Of Information Act and reports of journalists being harrassed and arrested. The US has been far lower than “The Land of the Free” has any business being for a long time, but this year was made worse by the arrests of many journalists covering the Occupy protests all over the country.

  10. #10 |  PeeDub | 

    It’s incredibly hamfisted, but it is important to look at historical figures without judging them by modern standards. Instead, look at the prevailing practices of the time, maybe judge *those* and learn how not to repeat those, but judging the inviduals is probably taking something hugely out of historical context.

    Cavemen probably killed other cavemen for their women. Assholes.

  11. #11 |  boomshanka | 

    re: tenn tea party

    neo-confederates have never been appropriately shamed in this country. it’s time we treated confederate flags and revisionists similarly to swastikas and holocaust deniers.

  12. #12 |  Mannie | 

    Stephen Slevin was arrested in August of 2005 for driving while intoxicated, according to NBC station KOB.com. He said he never got a trial and spent the entire time languishing in solitary, even pulling his own tooth when he was denied dental care. … He also never got to see a judge.

    Why are there not “officials” behind bars for this?

  13. #13 |  Cynical in New York | 

    RE: Tea Party

    This is another episode in conservative political correctness in which anything that puts our nation’s history in a bad light is considered liberal, communist, pro-terrorist, etc. If you want a more recent example look at the conservative reaction when Dr. Paul spoke about the golden rule.

    RE: DWI

    Simply disgusting

  14. #14 |  C. S. O. Schofield | 

    Yizmo Gizmo,

    While I don’t want to defend the flaming pr*cks who kept that man in solitary for two years, I should like to point out that Scooter Libby’s felony convictions are A) largely a matter of Political revenge and B) based on the kind of law that had Martha Stewart (who I detest, BTW) jailed for “lying” when she declared she wasn’t guilty of a crime that the authorities declined to try her for. Libby may be a despicable SOB, but the model of “we have the political power now, lets GET those bastards who were in before us” is one I don’t really want to see gain broad acceptance. it’s far too likely to get completely out of control.

    Libby was, at base, pilloried for mentioning to a reporter that a woman, who was NOT covert, and who most of Washington KNEW was a CIA employee, was a CIA employee. Lots of Democrats who usually despise the CIA, and would normally cheer if someone outed a whole list of covert agents, got all indignant about the ‘outing’ of a non-covert employee, because it allowed them to snipe at Bush. If Libby didn’t serve a day in jail I suspect it was as much because the Democrats were getting nervous about how far that had gone as it was because of Republican pull.

  15. #15 |  Monica | 

    Criminal justice outrage of the day. That guy should now OWN the state of New Mexico. 22 million just is not enough.

  16. #16 |  NAME REDACTED | 

    Um, a lot of fake “tea parties” are actually dem front organizations that were created for running candidates to split the vote. This organization may be one of those?

  17. #17 |  steve | 

    #16 That’s exactly what I was thinking. Radley should add that to his subject matter, infiltration of political parties. Although, he would have to spent more time near politics, which isn’t good for anyone.

  18. #18 |  albatross | 

    The Reporters Without Borders report said the fall of the US in the rankings was caused by the arrest and roughing-up of journalists covering protests.

  19. #19 |  omar | 

    Um, a lot of fake “tea parties” are actually dem front organizations that were created for running candidates to split the vote.

    Um…citation please? How many is “a lot”?

  20. #20 |  DarkEFang | 

    #9 Brandon –

    Not to mention having their cameras confiscated and photos/videos destroyed. Right now, it’s a bad time in the US for any journalist who doesn’t merely act as a stenographer of public officials and politicians.

  21. #21 |  Pablo | 

    Re: criminal justice outrage of the day–where the hell was this guy’s lawyer? Did he even get one appointed by the court? If so the SOB should be sued and disbarred for negliecting a client like that.

  22. #22 |  Pablo | 

    “negliecting” = “neglecting” need a spell checker

  23. #23 |  Robert | 

    RE- Tea Party in TN: Since there is not, and never has been, any central organization for the “Tea” party, anyone can label themselves with that moniker and try to climb on board to get more attention.

    RE – Libya: While I’ll admit that the situation there is as about as F’d up as it could be, relying on HRW for information in the article makes me discount everything in it.

  24. #24 |  Mario | 

    On the rape charge against Ray Kelly’s son:

    The woman told the police that she met the younger Mr. Kelly on the street and that the two went to South Street Seaport for drinks on Oct. 8. They then proceeded to her office at a Lower Manhattan law firm. The woman told the police that the rape occurred at the office. The two continued to have contact by phone and text message after the encounter.

    According to the woman’s account, when her boyfriend later learned about the night, he became angry.

    Sorry, but that’s all I need to hear to make my mind up. Sounds something along the lines of buyer’s remorse to me.

  25. #25 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    RE: Ray Kelly’s son…

    “According to the woman’s account, when her boyfriend later learned about the night, he became angry. He then approached the police commissioner at a public event and told him that the younger Mr. Kelly had sexually assaulted his girlfriend.”

    This should be investigated by an independent agency and conducted in a transparent manner, of course. But I would urge restraint on this one.

    Look, I don’t care if he is the Police Commisioner’s son. It isn’t terribly relevant. The complaint still sounds questionable to me. Look at the first part of the above quote: “when her boyfriend later learned about the night, he became angry.” It could have been rape. Or maybe this lady got drunk with with Kelly, fucked him at the office, and then decided to change her story when Mr. Boyfriend found out and got pissed. I know it isn’t polite to question the account of a rape victim. It also isn’t polite to cry rape to get out of a jam with your boyfriend. Time will tell which scenario is accurate.

    Look at how sex offender laws are used when teenagers have sex. The 18 year old usually only gets arrested because the 16 year old girl’s daddy and mommy find out and get pissed. So then it becomes “rape.” And look back further into history. How many black men were lynched when white damsels in distress cried rape to re-direct daddy’s rage towards “them nigras?” And need I mention the infamous Duke lacrosse team incident? Women DO sometimes “cry rape” when they decide it is convenient and when they are morally warped enough think this is an acceptable option.
    I don’t think it is too common–I certainly hope it is not–but it does happen.

  26. #26 |  FridayNext | 

    #16

    And maybe drugs are involved.

    And it’s Tennessee, so maybe deformed fruits of incest are part of this.

    Or Muslims.

    Or maybe the Illuminati, Rosicrucians, Masons, or maybe the Rothschild’s.

    I mean, while we are speculating with no evidence, why stop with just something as simple as political party infiltration? Where is the fun in that?

    If you have any evidence bring it.

  27. #27 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #16

    Why do you find it so hard to believe that a Tea Party group in TN might be full of Neo-Confederates? I don’t find this hard to believe at all. Maybe you should put Andrew Breitbart on the case ;)

  28. #28 |  David | 

    The danger of a decentralized “grassroots” movement is that there’s nothing to stop the idiots in the rank-and-file from speaking out on whatever idea goes through their heads, and when they do, there’s no hierarchy to allow somebody with a brain to step in and control the damage. As in Occupy Whatever, so in the Tea Party.

  29. #29 |  Les | 

    #23, when has Human Rights Watch provided inaccurate information in the past?

  30. #30 |  JOR | 

    “It’s incredibly hamfisted, but it is important to look at historical figures without judging them by modern standards.”

    No. There’s a grain of truth in this, but as stated it is false. I do have to admit that if I had to judge everyone by their own standards I’d have a much rosier picture of the world. Then again, conservatives and other cultural relativists don’t want me to judge everyone by their own standards, just their favored heroes.

    Furthermore, people who say this sort of thing are often being dishonest (I’m not saying you are) – they do want us to judge certain historical figures, but by rigged standards that render said figures Great Men rather than just Huge Assholes, as people with such pretensions usually turn out to be. Historical figures should be understood on their own terms – we should withhold no effort at grasping the actual choices they made, the actual motives they had, the actual context they found themselves in (and helped create – context is made of people), instead of projecting our own presumptions onto the past. This is a simple obligation of honesty and intellectual integrity. But when it comes to judgments, we should use whatever standard is correct. If there’s an argument for our “modern” standards simply being wrong, that’s one thing; but if that’s the real disagreement, then it should be played from where it lies. And if it should turn out that standards are all relative anyway, then the standards of the historical figure, or of his social context, are no more valid than ours, and we have no obligation to judge him by those standards rather than ours (actually in that case we have no obligations at all, except in the uninteresting sense of social expectations).

    We should also be cautious with judging individuals in general, because as history (among other things) shows, “good”, or rather ordinary, people are capable of utterly monstrous things. The difference between you and me and a brutal slaveowner is more than likely nothing more or less than the lucky end of happenstance. But we should never be lax in judging anyone’s actions, nor of their arguments or beliefs concerning the morality of those actions.

  31. #31 |  Mario | 

    Helmut O’Hooligan @ #25

    How many black men were lynched when white damsels in distress cried rape to re-direct daddy’s rage towards “them nigras?”

    I’d like to see some hardline feminists in a women’s studies program discuss To Kill A Mockingbird. I’m guessing they’d be tongue-tied.

  32. #32 |  Pip | 

    #16 Sorry Mr. Redacted but the shirt in that picture is pure Tea Party. Couldn’t be a fake. Fashion never lies.

  33. #33 |  Z | 

    “He described the way slavery is taught now as race-baiting. ”

    Read that statement again and again until your eyes bleed.

  34. #34 |  Z | 

    Re New Mexico: Nice but there will be a 5-4 Supreme Court decision overturning this.

  35. #35 |  JOR | 

    #33, The really funny thing is that quite a few conservative Biblical apologists*, use ante bellum American slavery as a sort of moral contrast to try to render ancient Israelite slavery not-so-bad.

    *Actually, classicists are really bad about this too, especially when trying to paint Greek or Roman practices as more-enlightened-than-those-smelly-superstitious-monotheists. In truth they’re all being dishonest or stupid; yes, in all of these ancient societies, some slaves lived in some degree of comfort, or with a small amount of dignity, or even managed to take advantage of some social mobility. So what? So, there have been equivalents to house negros and uncle Toms in all slave societies. But that proves nothing; most slaves were essentially used as farm or construction equipment, and had the legal standing of livestock.

  36. #36 |  lunchstealer | 

    The URL for the Headline of the Day is even better:

    http://www.blah.com/some/directory/structure/Penguin_Defecates_Near_Kentucky.html

  37. #37 |  Deoxy | 

    I don’t think it [false rape accusations] is too common–I certainly hope it is not–but it does happen.

    Go look up the actual stats on that – it’s amazingly bad. One study by the military showed that around 40% of rape claims (in one particular data set, not necessarily representative) were PROVABLY false. Just the number of cases where there was provably no sex AT ALL in frighteningly high.

    And yes, “The two continued to have contact by phone and text message after the encounter” means it absolutely wasn’t rape. What a joke.

    Scooter Libby – can you say “witch hunt”? Seriously, the special prosecutor KNEW who revealed it almost immediately (it wasn’t Libby, it was Richard Armitage). You want an example of non-punishment for a real crime? Try Sandy Berger! Any “normal” person (not a politician, especially of the Democrat variety) who did what he did would have spent years in federal prison.

    “It’s incredibly hamfisted, but it is important to look at historical figures without judging them by modern standards.”

    No.

    So, 100 years from now, when the way you’ve lived your life is considered as immoral as murder is today, you’re ok with people viewing you as equal to a vile murderer?

    Seriously, there’s completely useless to hold people to a standard of morality that HAD NOT YET BEEN INVENTED (especially in older examples). Slavery, for instance, has been normal and acceptable for the vast majority of human history. Someone who treated their slaves with dignity 3000 years ago would be a shining beacon of morality in comparison to the people of their day. How much more do you want?

  38. #38 |  JOR | 

    “So, 100 years from now, when the way you’ve lived your life is considered as immoral as murder is today, you’re ok with people viewing you as equal to a vile murderer?”

    100 years from now, my rotting bones won’t care what anyone thinks about anything.

    But no, I don’t want to be judged immoral; sadly (or happily), my wishes do not determine the content of right judgment. People, now or 100 years from now, have an obligation to judge me fairly – but accurately – by the best standards available, my feelings be damned. People 100 years from now will inevitably judge me (if they know about me at all) by whatever standards they have. Will their standards be better or worse than mine? I don’t know.

    “Seriously, there’s completely useless to hold people to a standard of morality that HAD NOT YET BEEN INVENTED (especially in older examples).”

    You’re simply assuming moral relativism is true, here. I don’t. And in any case people of the past, even the ancient past, did have an awareness of the cruelty and injustice of slavery. They continued to practice it, they rationalized it, compartmentalized their judgments, etc. just as people very often do things they know (or at least believe) to be wrong. That’s why anyone ever bothered to (sometimes) treat slaves kindly or with relative dignity, in defiance of the rationalizations given to justify their authority. And if we judge people who treated their slaves marginally better than their neighbors did as ‘moral beacons’ (I suppose robbers and kidnappers are moral beacons compared to serial killers) then we are still judging by our own supposed ‘modern’ standards. We’re just being less honest with ourselves about what we’re doing.

    People of the past were less different from us than we’d sometimes like to think, with all that that implies.

  39. #39 |  David | 

    And yes, “The two continued to have contact by phone and text message after the encounter” means it absolutely wasn’t rape. What a joke.

    You can’t draw a solid conclusion from a statement that vague. Maybe she was angry and lashing out at him by text and phone. Maybe he’s an asshole and called to gloat. Maybe she was shell-shocked and tried to act “normal.” Or maybe nothing happened at all – it’s possible, sure, but one possibility out of many.

  40. #40 |  hamburglar007 | 

    What I find most surprising about the rape allegation is I could have sworn that Greg Kelly was gay.

  41. #41 |  Les | 

    And yes, “The two continued to have contact by phone and text message after the encounter” means it absolutely wasn’t rape.

    Unless you know what was said in those exchanges, that’s a ridiculous conclusion to come to.

    Seriously, there’s completely useless to hold people to a standard of morality that HAD NOT YET BEEN INVENTED (especially in older examples).

    Thomas Paine, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin (in his later years) were outspoken opponents of slavery on moral grounds. Bartolomé de las Casas, a Spanish friar and historian wrote at length on the moral objections to slavery in the 16th century. The Greek Stoics opposed slavery about 2000 years before that.

  42. #42 |  Deoxy | 

    For the record, I actually DON’T believe in moral relativism at all. What I’m pointing out is that the vast majority of people aren’t going to come up with a level of morality that society has come to all on their own, in complete defiance of what they are living in.

    Whether slavery is immoral or not is not in flux; what society claims is moral IS. The people who stood against slavery, historically, were few and far between. Pick any other moral/immoral action that society used to judge differently, and it will be the same.

    For a not exactly moral but still good example, take a look at smoking. It’s always been nasty and smelly, but when it was viewed as normal, very few people even thought about it, much less put in the effort to complain about it.

    And some of the things we consider horrendous today (racism) were considered absolutely true, even by many of the leading minds and moral leaders of the day; the “best” of them (by modern standards) said we should treat them with the same dignity, even though they were obviously different (usually said by one who viewed this “other” as inferior).

    The vast overwhelming majority of people just take whatever morals society gives them and run with it, giving little thought. The morals of society change over time.

    My point is that the level of effort required to achieve “true” morality varies GREATLY depending on the prevailing morals of society. Today, saying slavery is immoral is normal – it takes no effort or risk to simply agree. Historically, that very unusual.

    Which unexamined bits of your morality will be viewed harshly, perhaps even in your lifetime?

  43. #43 |  picachu | 

    Mannie “Why are there not “officials” behind bars for this?”

    Because in America rules are only for suckers and poor people.

  44. #44 |  Warren Bonesteel | 

    The Tenn. T.E.A. Parry seems to have embraced that Old Time Religion…and forgotten about The Constitution.

    Something’s gone seriously wrong when a movement to achieve freedom from government control becomes a movement for exerting religious control over the lives and thinking of others.

  45. #45 |  albatross | 

    Further IM/cellphone contact doesn’t preclude rape in the slightest. As with:

    “You bastard, you’ll pay for this.”

    “What the fuck happened after I passed out?”

    etc.

  46. #46 |  C. S. O. Schofield | 

    picachu,

    Maybe JAILS are only for suckers and poor people, but there are so many rules that there are more than enough to go around, and unless you are really amazingly tight with the Powers That Be you run a very real chance of having to deal with some bean counter with no sense of humor. An by and large, they don’t take bribes.

    It certainly isn’t enough to not be poor. You have to be one of the Elite to thumb your nose at the Rules, and even Kennedys get into trouble sometimes. They don’t STAY there, though.

  47. #47 |  Sinchy | 

    @ Deoxy
    “Slavery, for instance, has been normal and acceptable for the vast majority of human history.” Acceptable, except to those who were enslaved.

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