Morning Links

Friday, February 10th, 2012

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55 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Andrew S. | 

    Any chance we can just give Arizona back to Mexico?

  2. #2 |  goober1223 | 


  3. #3 |  DoubleU | 

    Well… if Latin America asked…

  4. #4 |  Marty | 

    I love Gary Johnson domestically, but I think Ron Paul gets the edge today. Paul’s insistence on ending the wars and leaving Iran alone carries a lot of weight with me.

  5. #5 |  Mario | 

    The Mississippi Republicans are just more evidence of the kind of class envy that is rampant in this country. On the Left, they resent the rich; on the Right, they resent the welfare recipients.

  6. #6 |  omar | 

    On the Left, they resent the rich; on the Right, they resent the welfare recipients.

    Here here! I’ve had an inkling of this for a while, but haven’t been able to articulate it. Well said.

  7. #7 |  Marty | 

    hopefully opposition to the drug war picks up, domestically and internationally, and helps push Obama, Romney, Gingrich, etc to the irrelevant heap.

  8. #8 |  Mattocracy | 

    “Latin America leaders call on the U.S. to legalize drugs.”

    These people are obviously in league with terrorists. Only option now is to send in the drones!

  9. #9 |  Dan | 

    Will we see the creation of Tuba-Recovery swat teams?? Another tuba related death……

  10. #10 |  Doug Walker | 

    “’I refuse to accept that there has not been progress’ in the fight against drug trafficking and consumption, said William R. Brownfield, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.”

    To emphasize his conviction that the drug war has been effective, Brownfield dramatically held his breath for almost 60 seconds.

  11. #11 |  omar | 

    Only option now is to send in the drones!

    OT, but responding to your comment…These enthusiasm for perfecting flying murderbots blows me away (ahem!). For more than fifty years, since people had an inkling that robots could one day be used for killing, we’ve been talking about the consequences of killer robots. Asimov even coined some rules that many many people are passingly familiar with: The three laws of robotics. This was a serious conversation spanning decades – laying the moral foundation for a decent world without murderbots.

    And now, humans have finally gotten to the point where robots are real, and it’s like we never had that conversation. Murderbots are always wrong and we should not be building or developing them.

    As someone who dabbles in robotics, I pledge to never build a murderbot for any reason, even if a defense contractor offers me the massive sum of $75k a year to rain push-button murder from the sky.

  12. #12 |  ZK | 

    If you read Asimov’s work, it’s pretty clear the Three (really four) Laws were coined so that robots could find them impossible to abide by, so they could end up murdering, manipulating, going robo-insane, ignoring the laws and otherwise causing dramatic tension.

    I’m not sure how anyone could have had that conversation without noticing this.

  13. #13 |  The Other Dan | 

    Re Mississippi:

    More evidence supporting the call to perform random drug tests on elected officials.

  14. #14 |  Brandon | 

    Radley, the Johnson link goes to the second page of the interview.

  15. #15 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, has introduced a bill to require Medicaid recipients to submit to random nicotine testing.

    Fuck it. Why not just bring back the Victorian English poor houses where husbands, wives and children had to live and work separately and sleep in segregated dorms.

    This is not about saving money. It is about punishment and shame.

  16. #16 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    OK, yes, a lot of the testing and ‘requirements’ attached to various forms of government largesse are silly, or reflect somebody’s hobbyhorse. But there is no Right to get tax money handed to you. And in many cases what was supposed to be a little help while the recipient got their act together has turned into a lifestyle.

    So, I ask, what would be wrong with, for example, saying “If you must smoke, then get a job.”? I’m a smoker (cigars, but I don’t think that is morally superior in some way). But tobacco is a luxury. Maybe a low level luxury, but still.

    What would be wrong with setting up tent camps and serving means of healthy, vitamin enriched, but not especially palatable gruel, and taking care of the ‘poor’ that way?

    Why MUST it be “we’ll give you this money, with few or no strings attached”?

  17. #17 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    •Latin America leaders call on the U.S. to legalize drugs.

    Meanwhile cocaine barons in Medellin, Cali, Tijuana, and Juarez demanded
    the US keep them illegal, so they can continue to
    control the cartels and make millions more dollars.
    So tell me, why does the US always listen to the cocaine barons?

  18. #18 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Yizmo Gizmo,

    It isn’t so much that they are listening to the Drug Barons. It’s that they aren’t listening to common sense. And the Drug Barons know they won’t, or the Drug Barons would be hawking Amway or something.

  19. #19 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ C. S. P. Schofield,

    I agree in theoy. If you’re gonna get other peoples money, you should do it under their terms. Happens when you take out a loan or mortgage, so it makes sense with charity.

    I think most people aren’t upset about making people take drug tests for welfare, it’s the idea of welfare in general. Drug testing is just one more thing to make it that much more expensive to implement.

  20. #20 |  JOR | 

    Welfare was enacted by the original Progressives largely as a way to legitimize cracking down on the “vices” and lifestyles of the underclasses. Always nice to see conservatives playing their part in the plans of those long-dead ideologues who make their modern liberal descendants look like libertarian purists.

    There’s nothing surprising about it, of course. The Progressives were much smarter than modern liberals and conservatives (and most libertarians); only stands to reason they’d be playing them like fiddles from the grave.

  21. #21 |  omar | 

    If you read Asimov’s work, it’s pretty clear the Three (really four) Laws were coined so that robots could find them impossible to abide by, so they could end up murdering, manipulating, going robo-insane, ignoring the laws and otherwise causing dramatic tension.

    Fair enough – the laws were always broken somehow – I think the point still stands. The people in the Robot books were always trying to get the robots to behave, but their built-in logic was always flawed. Asimov gave these outlandish scenarios where his laws would fail to demonstrate that nothing is failsafe.

    But I think the my comment in the spirit of the work still stands – you need to be very very careful about what you do with powerful autonomous machines. The people in the Robot books were mostly looking to use machines to help humanity and ended up hurting them. The 50 year conversation was about how safe do we really think we are with these peaceful machines.

    As to my poorly-articulated previous point, this is not the talk we are having now. There are very few industrial accidents involving insane robots. What we have learned is that robots follow specific directions (if you see a person in your way, shut down), not conceptual laws like “thou shall not kill a human.” We have moved beyond flawed peaceful machines to “How do we make robots into very efficient killing machines?” That is what makes me crazy.

  22. #22 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Gary Johnson: When it comes to defense and foreign policy, I frequently refer to the importance of strategic alliances. Iran and the threat it poses is a perfect example. We must move quickly and firmly to make certain that our strategic alliance with Israel is on an absolutely solid footing.

    Cannot get past this. Israel is one of the worst-behaving states on the planet and any alliance should be used to completely re-route the last 50 years of failed strategy…certainly not continue with more of the same “might makes right” crap.

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    US Drones: will the first commercial flight packed with Americans blown-up by a drone enable the US Government to label the US Government as turrirsts?

  24. #24 |  Greg Beaman | 

    Way to go NYT for not offering any evidence whatsoever that tuba thefts are connected to Mexicans yet still managing to paint Mexicans as thieves.

  25. #25 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    RE: Tazer Ball

    “It’s not fake. We’re very serious about it,” said Eric Prum, 25.

    Yes, of course you are Eric. Eric went on to say “ow my balls!”

  26. #26 |  CyniCAl | 

    Very suspicious shooting of U.S. Marine by Orange County Sheriff’s deputy in San Clemente, CA:

  27. #27 |  omar | 


    Three times in that article, they said that this Marine always respected the chain of command and followed orders.

    Three times this article tells us “the police are your superior.”

  28. #28 |  CyniCAl | 

    I was rehearsing with my band at a studio in Garden Grove, CA (near Anaheim) just the other night. As I was exiting the building, a Hispanic dude wearing a sousaphone around him was entering. It was impressive — brass, enormous, polished. I immediately thought, “Holy shit, that must be EXPENSIVE, like thousands of dollars!” Then another thought intruded — “That’s quite an investment in a mariachi band, I guess those guys get work.”

    Mind you, this dude was wearing the instrument when he entered the studio. It was not in a case, as one might expect someone to transport an instrument of that size and value. Things that make you go hmmmmm…..

  29. #29 |  CyniCAl | 

    Omar, it’s a very puzzling case. This occurred a few days ago and no more details are forthcoming. I suspect that the Marine was pursuing his older daughter’s secret boyfriend on to school property or perhaps some Operation MKUltra stuff. That’s all I got, you can count on the OCSD for secrecy above all else.

    But yeah, I commented on the article along the lines of your comment, that the most dangerous place in the world is any 10′ radius from a cop.

  30. #30 |  Marty | 

    I’m solidly against drug/nicotine/whatever restrictions on welfare recipients. I’m not particularly outraged by welfare (in light of the huge sums dished out to corporations/industries) and I feel encroachments always spread. Plus, idiots are administering these programs- the waste of the additional monitoring/bureaucracy makes the programs even more detrimental.

  31. #31 |  CyniCAl | 

    l”… leaders are demanding that the United States and Europe consider steps toward legalization if they do not curb their appetite for drugs.”

    U.S. officials are just quaking in their boots now. How quaint that these Latin-American “leaders” think they have sovereignty over their own nations!

    Or perhaps these Latin-American “leaders” will get an increase in their stipends from the USG as hush money?

    Yeah, I’ll go with the second for now.

  32. #32 |  Brandon | 

    I agree with Marty. If you’re going to have a government welfare program (I disagree with it, but can’t really be too outraged about it in light of other, far more damaging and expensive programs), you can’t use it for social engineering. Private charities could absolutely attach conditions like drug testing to their benefits. They don’t. Because the “benefit” is not worth the cost by any stretch of the imagination.

  33. #33 |  albatross | 


    I see this kind of exertion of social control via control of government assistance checks as the first step in trying to exert that control more widely. How about government employees next? Or veterans who want to keep getting their benefits? Or college students using student loans?

    The best way to prevent the extension of this kind of crap to more and more people, and eventually to everyone, is to push back on it at the beginning, when it’s done to some group of people who are widely disliked, powerless, and unappealing.

  34. #34 |  EH | 

    Boyd: I’m reminded of this passage from “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”:

    Mark Ratner: I always stick up for you. Whenever people say, ‘That Damone, he’s a loudmouth,’ and they say that a lot, I always say, ‘Hey, you just don’t know Damone.’ When they call you an idiot, I say, ‘Damone’s not an idiot. You just don’t know him.’ Well, you know something, man? Maybe they do know you pretty good. Maybe I’m just finding out now.”

  35. #35 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    It seems to me that the best way to prevent the extension of that kind of crap would be to get the government the hell out of the charity business in the first place.

    This is why I describe myself as a Political Crank. I’m unhappy with the broad spread of government centred charity. I’m unhappy with leaving the poor and broken to starve. I’m unhappy with the idea of pushing people who accept charity to behave in certain ways. And I’m unhappy with the idea of somebody getting their food from charity and buying smokes. I’m basically impossible to please.

    On the whole I lean slightly towards society providing some basic shelter and food, and otherwise minding our own goddamned business. But no matter what we do somebody is going to take advantage and somebody else is going to slip through the cracks.

    I guess what I was groping toward in my first post is “OK, the idea doesn’t excite ME, but why is it outrageous to put conditions on the Dole?”

    Government is like Fire. You want to watch it very closely, and there are a lot of things it isn’t appropriate for, but life would be a lot less comfortable without it.

  36. #36 |  Ted S. | 

    I have to admit the schadenfreude part of me would think long and hard about voting for a law that required Big Government employees to call us “Master” and expected us to call them “Boy” or “Girl” as the case may be.

  37. #37 |  CSD | 

    So Conservative Republican politicians in Mississippi are on record that spending money on this license plate is a bad decision?

  38. #38 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    In theory, I’m against “Corporate Welfare”. What confuses the issue for me is the number of times I’ve thought I was looking at an egregious example that on closer examination turned out to be a case of fatheaded Politicians demonizing and punishing an industry or company to the point where it looks like it might go out of business and then slipping it some tax breaks or regulatory exceptions so that it doesn’t. I’m vaguely sure that that isn’t always the case, but when I hear somebody thumping the pulpit about “Corporate Welfare” my instinct is to suggest that we do away with government support and government micromanagement in equal measure and then see where we are.

  39. #39 |  CyniCAl | 

    Government isn’t like fire. It’s like an earthquake. It’s a permanent feature of humanity, built into the code of existence. When it strikes, devastation follows in its wake. There’s nothing one can do about it. All one can hope is that it doesn’t affect one personally.

    Government is only useful in the extreme macro sense, just as earthquakes are only useful in proving that the planet is living and not dead. At the individual level, for the non-government employee or privileged person, government is a force majeur and only to be feared.

  40. #40 |  el coronado | 

    In re the welfare/drug testing:

    To quote the late great Michael Crichton, always the smartest guy in the room….”Generally, whoever pays for an institution (or aid program) controls it.” So while us Libertarians may get all righteously outraged & shit about this kind of crap, it’s nothing new. You take a paycheck from an employer, you follow the terms & conditions they apply to the job: Dress code, code of conduct, don’t pinch the intern’s ass, no porn on company computers, don’t take kickbacks from the vendors, CAN”T DO DRUGS OR WE’LL FIRE YOU……”And if you don’t like it, quit. Otherwise, STFU.”

    “Their money, their rules” applies to The Real World. Why the hell shouldn’t it apply to Welfare World as well? Are they moronic, dipshit rules? Sure. Does that matter? Not really – they’re no more onerous than the rules & regs that 98% of all the private employers out there have. It always amuses me to see Libertarians claim to believe that ‘Freedom also means that all your actions have consequences that YOU are responsible for’, (a most repellent notion to Entitlement Nation); and try to live their lives that way; and fanatasize that the Human Nature should be somehow repealed and that The Glorious Notion should be applied to politics and Ron Paul/Gary Johnson will become President and All Our Sacred Constitutional Will Be Miraculously Restored Overnight (LOL). But The Glorious Notion should for some mysterious reason NOT apply to The Po’. ‘Cause that would be, like, MEAN, man.

    When it comes to State Control & government regulations, etc., again and again I hear variations of “I don’t take their money and I don’t want their money. So by what right do They hassle me?”

    Welfare recipients can’t say that, now can they. You want a disability check? Then you have to meet the conditions the USG sets. You want a ponzi….er, “social security” check? Gotta meet USG conditions. You want a farm subsidy check, same thing. You want a USG payroll/pension check, same thing. So why doesn’t ‘You have to meet whatever conditions they choose to make up in order to get the check’ apply here? *Pretty sure* there’s no special “Welfare Money for Free” section of the Constitution…..

    So what’s _really_ going on here, gang? The Gummint’s issuing the money, why *shouldn’t* they be able to attach whatever conditions they choose to it, **just like every other USG program**? “Soft bigotry of low expectations”? Racism disguised as ‘concern’, because ‘the poor and the dark-skinned folks are childlike simpletons who can’t NOT be alcoholics and/or do drugs and thus allowances must be made for their genetic deficiencies’? White Man’s Burden??

  41. #41 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    There are an awful lot of times when I agree with you on an emotional level, BUT;

    I’m a fifty year old man with bad teeth and gout. I have few illusions about where I’d end up in a true Anarchy; somewhere near the bottom of the pile, whimpering a lot. It may be possible to create a stable social structure without anything we’d call ‘government’, but it hasn’t happened yet, the few people who claim that it has seem to be lying or deranged (possibly both), and I’m not holding my breath.

  42. #42 |  Rich Uncle | 

    The problem isn’t the vanity license plate, the welfare queen shouldn’t be able to afford the car and the gasoline.

    Now it’s off to get my monocle cleaned.

  43. #43 |  Vain Beggar | 

    Why not just allow vanity plates but require all welfare recipients to have special “WF” license plates?

  44. #44 |  Andrew S. | 

    Gawker has gone full derp.

    Best line:

    Some people think that if the money is legally made, it is the right of the moneymaker to use that money how they see fit, and it’s not anyone else’s business. Well, if you believe that you’re some sort of Randian libertarian, and you should not be reading this website. Most reasonable people accept the fact that society itself contributes greatly to the ability of rich people to gain and, crucially, hold wealth (that is, the rule of law that society enforces ensures that rich people don’t all immediately get robbed and guillotined, as has been the fashion at various points in history); therefore, rich people owe a great debt to society. More than others do.

  45. #45 |  Mattocracy | 

    “So what’s _really_ going on here, gang? The Gummint’s issuing the money, why *shouldn’t* they be able to attach whatever conditions they choose to it, **just like every other USG program**?”

    The problem is that they are issuing other people’s money. Giving my shit away under their rules. I would agree whole heartedly with you if we were talking about private charity.

  46. #46 |  BamBam | 

    @32, The Daily Show had a great bit where one of the reporters went down that line of thinking with a governor trying to enforce this, and said “ok, since people paid with government tax dollars should be tested for drugs, and you are paid with government tax dollars, when can we expect you (governor, city council, etc) to step up first, before anyone else, and lead by example?” None of the politicians wanted to agree to it. Shocker.

  47. #47 |  BamBam | 

    @43 we should have buttons/stickers/tattoos for everyone. Some of us would take pride in trying to obtain as many as possible, kinda like Pokemon “collect ’em all” or the pieces of flair from Office Space.

  48. #48 |  CyniCAl | 

    No worries, CSP. My comment wasn’t in praise of anarchy, but in resignation to human nature. Humans are our own worst enemy.

  49. #49 |  Ken | 

    The Mississippi GOP tackles the very important issue of preventing Medicaid recipients from getting vanity license plates.

    So to clarify, democrats pass a highly invasive incredibly expensive piece of legislation that is currently bankrupting the country, then Radley expertly points out that the GOP uses this highly invasive and incredibly expensive piece of legislation to restrict license plates (democrats have never been known to be so petty have they, Radley). Again, Radley you simply highlight your anti-GOP bias. You’re penny wise and pound foolish in your excitement to tar the GOP. You, rightly, point out GOP pettiness, but completely ignore the crushingly invasive and bankrupting legislation they are using was in fact passed by democrats. Which is worse: preventing Medicaid recipients from getting vanity plates or enacting legislation that causes sky rocketing medical costs preventing Medicaid recipients from getting otherwise less expensive and more widely available life saving and life improving drugs. Your stunning lack of proportion is truly a sight to behold.

    Grow up.

  50. #50 |  Aresen | 

    I just wish the Latin American leaders would tell the US “We’re not going to participate in your Drug War any more and we are going to legalize all aspects of the drug trade in our countries. We are not going to attempt to enforce your laws and we will treat drug dealers as any other businessmen.”

  51. #51 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 


    “Humans are our own worst enemy.”

    Amen to that, brother. We certainly don’t need a worse one….

  52. #52 |  World’s Strangest | Tazer Ball Is Like Soccer, Except That the Players Are Armed with Tasers | 

    […] -via The Agitator | Image: Ultimate Tazer […]

  53. #53 |  supercat | 

    #15 | celticdragonchick | “It is about punishment and shame.”

    Although welfare dependency should be a situation from which people can escape, it should also be a condition which nobody will accept except in the direst of circumstances, and from which nearly anyone would try to escape. To the extent that welfare provides an existence which anyone would find preferable to working, it is too pleasant. Welfare takes money which could be used to hire workers, and instead uses it to reward those who don’t work. The bigger the welfare class, the more it depresses the economy, thus promoting the creation of an even bigger welfare class.

  54. #54 |  StrangeOne | 

    #49 Ken

    Let me explain how this works, Radley says Team X did good/bad Thing A.
    You then come along and point out how Team Y did better/worse than Thing A on Thing B. Everyone else wonders what the hell Team Y or thing B has to do with anything.

    Your statements are completely unrelated to the discussion at hand. Not to mention that your bald-faced partisan accusation of partisan bias on the part of Radley is laughably ignorant. A cursory search of this website for “Democrats” “Medicaid” and “Medicare” shows Radley heaping criticism and scorn on Democrats where and when it is deserved. You should learn to do the same.

  55. #55 |  Danny Lampley | 

    RE: drug-testing for welfare recipients – Leave aside for the moment the 4th amendment implications of a search (done randomly? on reasonable suspicion? probable cause? with or without a warrant? monthly check-in piss test? what?) and explain whether and what difference there is in making welfare recipients submit to drug testing and not doing the same for subsidized housing, Social Security Disability Income, Supplemental Security Income, Social Security retirement income, any veterans administration benefit of any kind, any driver renewing a drivers license, any driver randomly using a street, any driver at a “random roadblock”, any farmer before a crop insurance check is released, any farmer before a subsidized crop loan application is processed, any uninsured user of an emergency room, any insured user of an emergency room, any guest or patron or bag-carrying relative of a traveler (and the traveler) on arrival at any airport, any party or attorney or court reporter or any other person making use of a court facility, any person doing anything or using any facility or infrastructure or proceeds or benefit of any kind that can be sourced back to the State or Federal governments?

    Really, I don’t see why we shouldn’t all be tested. Why, it seems to me that every person who has benefited in any way by having clean(er) air or water because of government anti-pollution efforts should have to demonstrate his or her worthiness by proving to be personally unpolluted by the use of any drug at all. [I would include nicotine and caffeine and sugar. After all, what is the point of taking care of us so well only to have us thumb our noses at the effort by insisting upon just some small pleasure in an otherwise rather difficult life.]