Morning Links

Monday, March 26th, 2012

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53 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Kyle | 

    Re: Another marijuana-related death.

    I love this part:
    Matt Wenzel, staff writer: Due to the nature of this story, commenting has been disabled.

  2. #2 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Marijuana shooting.

    For the longest time, since Anslinger’s Propaganda Wars,
    authorities couldn’t link Marijuana with any deaths, complicating efforts to
    continue prohibition or condemnation of this weed.
    With the rise in incidents like these, thank God, we can now tell our kids that marijuana is directly linked fo many many deaths.

  3. #3 |  Whim | 

    “There are reasonable grounds for this court to remove the child(ren) from the parent … because conditions or surroundings of the child(ren), and is contrary to the welfare of the child(ren) to remain in the home because: It is alleged that the father used marijuana in the home in the presence of the child. In addition, there is concern for the safety of the child due to a
    domestic disturbance and threats made toward law enforcement by the father.”

    Apparently, shooting the parent to death in the presence of the child expresses the State’s concern for the welfare of the child…..

  4. #4 |  crazybob | 

    Your comment about Krugman’s piece, is the nonsense. Had you actually read what you criticized you would have noted that Krugman makes no claim that the “stand your ground laws” are aimed to fill prisons – your accusation is false. Krugman does claim that other ALEC promoted laws related to immigration are designed to fill private prisons – and that point is more than valid.

    “What this tells us, in turn, is that ALEC’s claim to stand for limited government and free markets is deeply misleading. To a large extent the organization seeks not limited government but privatized government, in which corporations get their profits from taxpayer dollars, dollars steered their way by friendly politicians. In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism.”

  5. #5 |  glasnost | 

    Krugman doesn’t come out and say that, but the piece is definitely intended to give that impression. I don’t think that Stand Your Ground is pro-incarceration. So, one cheer for Balko’s point.
    The spotlight on ALEC and the insidious nature of shadowy organizations writing bills across a wide span of topics for state legislatures is well deserved. ALEC does push a lot of pro-imprisonment bills; if Balko doesn’t know that, he should educate himself on it. If he does know it, he should be glad to see someone pushing back on the general topic.

    That ALEC pushes a pro-shooting bill as well only means either that they’re capable of incoherence (no surprise) and they value playing nice with the NRA, or that they’re being bribed by firearm manufacturers. I don’t know which.

  6. #6 |  glasnost | 

    The compulsory contract discussion is a very well-written elaboration of a non-sequitur. The ‘compulsion’ is limited to being forced to pay a penalty, which is, plus or minus a bunch of rhetoric and jawboning, a tax on not having insurance. So unless the IJ wants to argue that preferential disincentive taxes on some activities vs. others are also unconstitutional, the whole thing is a waste of time.

    If the SC really strikes this down on the “you didn’t call it a tax, so it’s not a tax” theory, that does nothing except lead to the re-passing of the law with the “okay, this time we’re calling it a tax” clause. It’s a pointless circle jerk.

  7. #7 |  Mattocracy | 

    The fact that Krugman tries to associate the Stand Your Ground Law in Florida with krony-capitalism is absurd. There was no reason to even include the Trayvon Martin case in his article at all.

    He also made this assertion: “Did I mention that ALEC has played a key role in promoting bills that make it hard for the poor and ethnic minorities to vote?”

    Really Paul? Please provide evidence to support this claim.

  8. #8 |  Danny | 

    Uh-Uh. I call bullshit on the cheap shot at Krugman. Krugman’s prison-filling allegation is directed at ALEC bills other than stand-your-ground. And fairly. And any misunderstanding on that point is a matter of reading comprehension, not any ‘misleading’ sleights by Krugman.

  9. #9 |  Cyto | 

    It isn’t a non-sequitur to point out that there is a conflict within the law when challenging the law in court. I love your point that “it is only a little compulsion, so it shouldn’t count as compulsion”.

    In case you missed it, they are arguing that forcing people into an insurance contract under penalty of law invalidates the insurance contract. The correct counter to this argument isn’t “the government can use tax incentives for other activities, so they can for this too”. The correct constitutional argument is “this is an important policy objective, therefore it is constitutional”.

    This is a rational that is routinely embraced by both the left and right wings of the high court. It also has the convenient side benefit of being utterly flexible and impossible to refute with logical or legal argument.

  10. #10 |  Juice | 

    FTA on compulsory contract: The individual mandate is incompatible with centuries of contract law. This is so because a compulsory contract is an oxymoron.

    Um, hello. Everything the government compels people to do violates voluntary contract.

  11. #11 |  Danny | 

    On compulsory contract, consider the residential building code. You have to have certain services to be up to code — water, sewer, electrical, heat. Whether you own or rent your home, your dwelling must be up to code. The only way the code does not force you into “compulsory contracts” with utilities is either:

    (1) be some kind of Tony Stark mechanical genius who can build an LEED platnium house completely off the grid with your own hands, or

    (2) be homeless and live on the sidewalk, where residential building codes don’t apply.

  12. #12 |  Jesse | 

    Paul Krugman is a rare talent. He can manage to get it wrong on virtually any subject he opens his mouth about.

  13. #13 |  Juice | 

    His real talent is drawing hoards of sycophants to comment below each article about how right on he is and how they always thought the same thing but never had the intelligence to crystallize their thoughts so eloquently.

  14. #14 |  EH | 

    Juice: Isn’t it begging the question whether it’s a contract at all?

  15. #15 |  Burgers Allday | 

    My libertarian streak comes largely from watching my mother try to protest legally at an abortion clinic in the mid 80s.

    Compared to now, the police gave them almost no problems in my town, but you meet people like Randy Terry who have been put (willingly and not willingly) into jail at various times in other cities where the police were not as understanding. Some of the nerve pinching and wrist locking and other pain compliance seemed pretty barbaric, especially in view of the non-violence of the protestors at those sit ins. I was 16, 17 and my eyes were opened a little. I got more interested in the Free Speech and policing issues than the underlying abortion ish — especially bcs the confusing Clinton years of declining abortion, coupled with a pro-abortion attitude, it was hard to react to the weird reality in any way that felt internally satisfying.

  16. #16 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I took the “Geraldo Challenge” and was tempted to shoot every image of him in a hoodie…and all the other images of him, too. 12 of his ex-wives and 30 of his mistresses agree.

  17. #17 |  Burgers Allday | 

    I hate to say it, but the mj shooting could have just as easily been based on an allegation of an affair, or child abuse, or even just lurid talk.

    The real problem(s) in that one seem only incidentally mj related.

    The story is an outrage that should, of course, be publicized. It is just that the mj problem would be much easier to pretty much completely solve, while the underlying problems with the police raiding the custody-having dad ould probably continue apace in a world of legal mj.

  18. #18 |  Les | 

    @11, the big difference is that you have to own a building before you’re forced to bring it up to code. The individual mandate forces you to buy insurance just because you’re alive.

  19. #19 |  Danny | 

    @ 18. You have to own, or rent, or otherwise inhabit a building. Your other option, as I said, is to live homeless.

  20. #20 |  picachu | 

    Moscow’s girl soldiers was very disappointing. I thought they were gonna be hot. Those were just kids.

  21. #21 |  Brandon | 

    Danny, only the owner is responsible for a building being up to code. Not the inhabitants.

  22. #22 |  aardvark |

    “We know, or I think we know, that a single-payer system — in which the government collects taxes, and uses the revenue to provide health insurance — would be constitutional. I mean, I don’t think the court is about to strike down Medicare.

    Well, ObamaRomneycare is basically a somewhat klutzy way of simulating single-payer. Instead of collecting enough revenue to pay for universal health insurance, it requires that those who can afford it buy the insurance directly, then provides aid — financed with taxes — to those who can’t. The end result is much the same as if the government collected taxes from those under the mandate and bought insurance for them….It is in no sense more interventionist, more tyrannical, than Medicare; it’s just a different way of achieving the same thing.”

    “Agreed. This whole case has a serious air of angels-dancing-in-the-head-of-a-pin. The individual mandate is enforced by a tax penalty, and if it were called a tax penalty it would be OK. But since it’s called a fine it’s unconstitutional! Congress can tax everyone and then provide them with health insurance — outsourced to a private company if it wants to. But it can’t require everyone to simply buy the exact same health insurance directly for the exact same price!

  23. #23 |  Danny | 

    Brandon — I beg to differ.

    And in any event, it is analytically irrelevant.

    Would the ObamaCare mandate be more constitutional if it was enforced only against employers and the self-employed, and gave you the option of avoiding it by never doing paid work?

  24. #24 |  Dan | 

    I live in an area where many people are self-employed and alot of them cannot afford insurance. The Gov’t can fine them all they want and they still won’t be able to pay. So it looks like asset seizure time if this piece of crap is ruled constitutional. We need to create more criminals for swat teams to beat, humiliate, kill , and dispossess. Maybe the gov’t would be merciful and offer the homeless survivors “free” euthanasia to put them out of their misery.

  25. #25 |  Dante | 

    #24 Dan:

    What you said.

    The federal government seems like a broken record – making ticky-tac rules which nobody in government obeys, then sending the SWAT teams into poor neighborhoods to jail, kill and/or seize assets of the people who cannot defend themselves because they can’t afford legal representation. This will serve to fill both the government’s coffers and its’ prisons, and it provides bragging rights for the politicians involved. The only loser is We the People, who must pay for it.

    If you survive prison, and get out, you are a slave to the government since you cannot get a job and must go on welfare/medicaid/etc.

    Almost like that was the plan.

  26. #26 |  Les | 

    @18, renters are not responsible for making sure the buildings they live in are up to code. You can “beg to differ,” but the law is the law and facts are facts. There is no other instance where the government can force an individual to buy something from a private company simply because that individual is alive.

  27. #27 |  Cordero | 

    @Mattocracy, Google is your friend. Krugman’s allusion to ALEC and making it harder for minorities and poor people to vote is centered around ALEC’s introduction of bills into state legislatures which would make voter ID cards law. Whether you disagree with his assertion or not, that is his point.

  28. #28 |  Rob Mac | 

    Dan, ObamaCare (as it is now officially called, it seems) provides subsidies for those who can’t afford to buy insurance. It’s not so draconian and obnoxious as you seem to believe. Believe it or not, the real of the mandate is to make sure that every one has insurance coverage–not to collect penalties and seize assets.

    I agree that the conservative compromise of the mandate is imperfect at best. A single payer system (Medicare for all) would be much better. But Democrats thought they might get a bit more buy in by taking the Republican idea for a mandated and regulated private system and running with it. It’s actually kind of breathtaking that the Republican-inspired idea is the one that has all the Republicans (err, I mean, libertarians) crying “Tyranny!”

  29. #29 |  Rob Mac | 

    Tell me, Les, how do I opt out of the tax penalty for not paying mortgage interest? The government is forcing me to buy a house and pay loads of interest to a bank and every year I must pay a penalty when I refuse to do this. Where is my opt out? I’d really like to know.

  30. #30 |  RobZ | 

    “I live in an area where many people are self-employed and alot of them cannot afford insurance.”

    Are there not subsidies for the working poor built into the ACA?

  31. #31 |  Cynical in New York | 

    RE: #25

    If you survive prison, and get out, you are a slave to the government since you cannot get a job and must go on welfare/medicaid/etc.

    Almost like that was the plan.


    It’s sick isn’t it, not to mention that in most states it also makes it very difficult for someone to get a pistol if they did time in prison.

  32. #32 |  Jay | 

    The issue is not access to healthcare, but rather the cost of healthcare.

    My state, Colorado, has a safety net program for those who can’t qualify for private insurance and don’t have a group plan. It’s called CoverColorado(.org), and it’s guaranteed issue, meaning they don’t deny coverage for health conditions.

    This means that every single citizen in my state can get health insurance if they want.

    The REAL crisis with our healthcare system is cost. While everyone can qualify, not everyone can pay. The crisis of paying for healthcare affects 9 out of 10 of us, probably more. I’m starting to see my older clients pay more for their monthly insurance premium than what they pay for their mortgage. That’s absurd.

    However, it’s much easier to pass legislation that says, ‘You have to cover 39 million more Americans’ than to actually address the real crisis.

    When our healthcare system is 1/6th of our economy, it takes a lot more than legislators telling us to ‘fix’ it. The problem lies with consumers who want extra unneeded testing done and our totally selfish ‘me-me-me’ attitude, doctors who practice defensive medicine, fraud and abuse, malpractice claims and associated costs, the need for tort reform, hospitals over-charging and incorrect billing, costs for end-of-life care, and everything in between. It’s not going to get resolved with legislation or a supreme court hearing.

    Fun Fact: There are more MRI machines in the city of Pittsburgh than in the entire country of Canada.

    It’s also important to note everyone comes to the US if they want the best medical care in the world. That costs money.

  33. #33 |  Dan | 

    Subsidies? I have no idea. What I do know is that theGovernment is openly and blatantly corrupt and could care less for the working class, small businesses, and the middle class. I’m talking both parties; they both work for the big banks and do what they are told like good little whores. They are unrepentantly corrupt and they don’t even try to hide it anymore. Nixon was a cub scout compared to what’s going on now. The gov’t in charge of health care? Utterly terrifying. Subsidies won’t cut it. This will drive the fed. income tax through the roof and make criminals out of a lot of hard working people… people are barely making it as it is and you have another big jump with income tax and people will have to choose between feeding their families and paying their taxes. My guess is that many will choose to spend their $ on food rather than on the gov’t. Every nation has a breaking point and the US is not exempt; it will break one way or another.

  34. #34 |  Ted S. | 

    Single payer legal care.

    Everybody knows there’s not one lawyer in this country who does anything worth more than minimum wage.

    (I’ll let you all figure out for yourselves how much of the above is serious.)

  35. #35 |  TGGP | 

    I’m of like mind with George Will on the desirability of compelling people into contracts (although I’ve heard the fine is low enough that it’s not that compelling, not that the H.R lady at my company listened when I said I’d be willing to take the hit), but his point about a compulsory contract as a contradiction in terms put in mind of some of the writings of David Ellerman. Starting on the basis of a prohibition on selling yourself into slavery, he argues against “wage slavery”, essentially any arrangement in which employees are compensated through wages rater than ownership in the enterprise. And he brings in earlier justifications for both slavery and autocracy as being founded on “implicit contracts” resulting from conquest. Of course most of us today find such justifications ridiculous, but maybe the government would like to revive the theory “might makes right”.

  36. #36 |  Frank Hummel | 

    Never mind Krugman. Here’s a better one claiming Walmert pushed the stand your ground law:

  37. #37 |  Windy | 

    RE: the marijuana death article

    So, now the child’s future is up in the air, he is in a foster home. He had a loving dad who took good care of him, and now he doesn’t have any parent (if he’s in foster care the mother is obviously out of the picture). I’m certain, even tho he is only 2, that the sight of his dad being killed in front of him is going to cause trauma and he’ll carry the memory for life. Isn’t it time we stop doing these kinds of things to people who use the “wrong” substance to relax? Not only should people NOT be killed over it, they should not even have to pay a fine for being caught using one of those “illicit” substances, and especially not for one as innocuous as cannabis/marijuana.

    Comments have been disabled on that article, I think the periodical doesn’t want people raking the cops and social workers over the coals, as I think they should be. Those who initiated and carried out this vicious vendetta against this man and his child need to be berated and vilified in public and demands for removal from their jobs and a change in policy also made publicly.

  38. #38 |  glasnost | 

    but his point about a compulsory contract as a contradiction in terms put in mind of some of the writings of David Ellerman. Starting on the basis of a prohibition on selling yourself into slavery, he argues against “wage slavery”, essentially any arrangement in which employees are compensated through wages rater than ownership in the enterprise.

    Most contracts these days are implicitly compulsory, or at best a binary choice between accepting the terms exactly as written, or doing without not just the company but the industry. That’s (just) one more thing that libertarianism fails to address. Ever try negotiating your terms of service with a software company, or any other company? It’s a joke.

  39. #39 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ Cordero,

    Again, would’ve been nice if he had included that in the article. Which he didn’t.

  40. #40 |  pim FEE | 

    Might want to take another look at this Treyvon business. The kid was a troublemaker, kicked out of school, bad attitude and such. This Zimmerman fellow had a broken nose and injuries to his back side. Hard to fake that. It was weird that someone like Mr. Balko that regularly follows these kinds of stories was right to wait, and then gets attacked by the left! It looks like he didn’t wait quite long enough. IF you believe in gun rights eventually an over zealous type will kill someone and race may be involved, but this is not that case and the fact that it was the lead article one day for Andrew Sullivan and the lead story for Chris Matthew’s weekend talk show should tell you all you that politics has taken over.

  41. #41 |  croaker | 

    @1 He’s a pussy who was ordered to disable comments by law enforcement.

  42. #42 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The kid was a troublemaker, kicked out of school, bad attitude and such.

    Please list source and claims (especially for that “bad attitude and such”). Are you talking about the empty baggie he was caught with that tested positive for having once contained mj? Also, please find a teenager that has a good attitude.

    While we’re at it, please note that the claim is not that Treyvon was a perfect kid who never sinned. There are no such kids/people. At issue is an investigation by local police that is questionable and a man who appears to have provoked an altercation that lead to a young man dying. There’s also an issue with potential witness tampering by a cop.

    No one here (that I know of) is attempting to convict Zimmerman without a trial.

    IF you believe in gun rights eventually an over zealous type will kill someone and race may be involved, but this is not that case

    This is a mighty big claim by you. I suggest you take your own advice and not conclude this case before all the facts are in.

    Personally, I don’t care if race is involved or not. Someone is dead and a proper investigation needs to take place. That wasn’t the direction this was headed until publicity forced the issue.

    If you believe in gun rights, don’t follow the course of the police union (defended every action by all cops no matter what).

  43. #43 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    That’s (just) one more thing that libertarianism fails to address. Ever try negotiating your terms of service with a software company, or any other company? It’s a joke.

    False. I negotiated software contracts for more than two decades, but I’m sure you’re actually talking about end user license agreements. EULAs are the result of trying to hit a broad market. They get changed often as the market evolves. Your claim is similar to wanting a 7-pack of Coke and raging about how unfair it is.

    One more claim of a libertarianism failure that isn’t.

  44. #44 |  pim FEE | 

    Boyd there are some stories in the Miami Herald to back the claim that he was a bad kid. My kids have bad teenage attitudes sometimes, but they don’t smack bus drivers and act like wannabe gangsters. They haven’t been kicked out of school for pot (yet, let me pray they don’t smoke pot). Anyway, Boyd do you know how Mr. Zimmerman would have gotten the injuries he got? What happened is that Treyvon was playing tough guy and smacked Zimmerman and if that weren’t enough he thought he’d play Tony Soprano and kick and stomp Zimmerman after he went down. There are tons of YOUTUBE videos that show this behavior, that being black kids stomping on the face and head of others after they get into a fight. Zimmerman reached under his jacket and killed the wannabe hoodie gangsta. The more I learn about this the more respect I have for Mr. Zimmerman, and may god bless him.

  45. #45 |  pim FEE | 

    The White House and the Dem machine thought they had the perfect election year issue. Zimmerman sounded white, was not a cop (helps with unions), may have used the word coon, Treyvon looked like a clean cut kid, and Florida is a swing state. Well Zimmerman is half Peruvian, didn’t use the word coon, Treyvon is a little idiot, Zimmerman is a Democrat, and they just alienated every white person that worries about crime and is sick of hoodie wearing idiots everywhere.

  46. #46 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    pim, your whole post is filled with speculation. So much speculation and so little proof that even I don’t know how to respond to it.

    You seem to be scared of blacks, kids, and black kids…hoodies, pot, shadows, YouTube, HBO series…possibly hobos (who isn’t), bus drivers (sometimes they’re just ex-hobos)…the Left, radio shows, sidewalks, cars…commas, , , and reason.

  47. #47 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Zimmerman sounded white,

    Yes, the folks running the billion$$ Democratic Party and the constantly-connected folks at the White House forgot to check. Luckily, I have the transcript:

    Prez:”YESH! Now I can beat Romney. Phew!”

    $1M/Year White House Press Manager: “I know, right!”

    Fox Reporter: “Suck it, Mr. President! You forgot to check your Blackberry, iPad, MacBook, MacBook Pro, or any of the 1,000 monitors in the White House constantly streaming the news. Zimmerman is Peruvian!”

    Prez: “Is he at least Jewish?”

    I think pim FEE is a real contender for one of the year-end awards.

  48. #48 |  Cynical in New York | 

    RE: 44

    Boyd asked for sources which you so far have failed to do.

    How do you know about the injuries Zimmerman got? So far Zimmerman’s injuries are speculation, why wasn’t Zimmerman brought to the hospital or even checked out by a EMT after the police arrived? Have you forgotten about the 911 call with the dispatcher telling Zimmerman NOT to go after Martin? Neighborhood watches by definition are not supposed to engage suspects unless Florida Law allows them to which so far has not been said.

  49. #49 |  pim FEE |

  50. #50 |  pim FEE |

  51. #51 |  pim FEE | 

    It’s all over the place, this was a bad kid. Do you get the death penalty for being a bad kid? Of course not. But sometimes if you want to play gansta, you gonna get treated like gangsta get treated!

  52. #52 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Funny, I don’t see “death sentence” anywhere on the penalty sheet for your non-existent crime of “gangsta”.

    Typical of the right, though.

  53. #53 |  CJ | 

    Way to strawman Krugman, did you even read his piece?