Morning Links

Friday, May 25th, 2012

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27 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “What really happens when you ask Siri to remind you about the gazpacho?”

    I never thought mindlessness would become so fashionable until these gadgets appeared…
    In the not too distant future, some app-addicted moron is going to do something really stupid and hurt somebody as a result of getting misunderstood, and then misinformed, by his trusty “app.”

    At least that’s what my Blackberry tells me…

  2. #2 |  Burgers Allday | 

    That reminds me. Vallejo pd never returned my call about the FOIA on Officer Chase Calhoun. Its been a solid week.

  3. #3 |  derfel cadarn | 

    The history of profanity is so brief that it contains nothing. Is that the point?

  4. #4 |  J-Man | 

    RE: Bankrupt California town…

    Didn’t think my cozy (not!) hometown of Vallejo, California, would be linked on the pages of The Agitator. This declining city of 113,000 people (with more leaving everyday) is completely bought by the Police/Fire Public Unions. Just trying to get some sort of an oversight committee/board leads advocates to be called “anti-police” and hundreds of union workers to fill up Council Chambers with their idiot protests.

    A horrible excuse of a city.

  5. #5 |  J-Man | 

    #2 Burgers Allday

    Why would they answer a FOIA request? Their culture doesn’t allow them to feel accountable to the public or the City Council. The people don’t require it, so they don’t have to give it.

    Especially since the killing of one of their own in Nov. 2011. That now gives them every reason they need to display their aggressive tendencies.

  6. #6 |  Burgers Allday | 

    Why would they answer a FOIA request? Their culture doesn’t allow them to feel accountable to the public or the City Council. The people don’t require it, so they don’t have to give it.

    The call was to find out to whom to address the FOIA (or open records or whatever other name a similar type request goes by in Vallejo) request.

    Mr. Balko said to start with a call when he helpfully instructed me on this technique.

    “Vallejo” is a great Ween song. Maybe Mr. Balko can put it up as the Friday music thing he does. I think Ween recorded an album in Nashville. The country one.

  7. #7 |  J-Man | 


    May 25, 2012, ABC Local Affiliate (KGO-SF)

    Yes, that happened today…

  8. #8 |  nigmalg | 

    RE: Essay on libertarianism

    Radley, I think you accidentally linked to the last page of the article.

  9. #9 |  nigmalg | 

    Ah nevermind. I see it stands on it’s own.

  10. #10 |  Lee | 

    That is an excellent discussion on healthcare.

    I agree I think something very similar to the Swiss system is going to be our endgame.

    I do have one quibble with something Sen Coburn said when talking about that unnecessary CT scan.

    “Market forces would have said, that’s stupid.”

    Market forces have said it is necessary. The reason is because it is cheaper to do the CT scan than lose a lawsuit because you did not do one.

    It is MEDICALLY unnecessary.

    I’ve asked the same thing. “If I do this test, will it change the treatment?” If they say no, then I pass on the test. that is probably the single simplest question a patient can ask.

  11. #11 |  Bob | 

    So, Vallejo spent itself into bankruptcy, and now they’re off running deficits again? Excellent!

    This is why “austerity” doesn’t work. Once you’re addicted to unions and their pensions, that’s where all your money will go.

    My favorite line:

    While several council members said generally they’re opposed to spending beyond the city’s means, they offered little in specific alternatives to avoiding it.

    Yup. If they try to be responsible and stop the unions, they’ll be shredded politically. This is the bane of democracies, once people learn how to vote themselves into the cookie jar, politicians have no choice but to give out free cookies.

  12. #12 |  Bob | 

    The Siri article:

    I can’t imagine why these all turned into phone calls, but it’s especially amusing to know that all of the above names are actually combinations of my various contacts invented by Siri, not real people.

    Wait! Siri adds bogus contacts whenever it feels like it? Do you have to go in and delete them every once in a while? Or wonder things like “When did I add Seymore Butts to my contact list? Was I drunk?”

  13. #13 |  CyniCAl | 

    •Texas district attorney faces federal racketeering charges.

    Q: What is the mortal enemy of the State?

    A: Competition!

  14. #14 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @10 – The Swiss system has very high out of pocket costs for many people. They manage that by several systems of support and having far less absolute poverty. Moreover, it’s not an especially cheap system either.

    There are better models. Like the Netherlands (which delivers a far higher percentage of care from private practice than America does, and has a system which encourages preventative care) or France (very highly rated and relatively cheap – the key is you pay for routine medical care, but the more serious the condition the smaller the percentage you pay. You might want to skip the sexually explicit murals in the doctor’s break rooms though…)

    (Incidentally, the problems with England’s NHS are because it was chronically underfunded until about a decade ago, and it’s mortality indicators (as you’d expect) lagged the improvement by some years, especially in cancer (which is also usual). And now it’s being broken up in a way which has sent the care quality massively down again).

  15. #15 |  David | 

    I tried to ask my Android phone about gazpacho, and it thought I wanted to see a “despot show.” Sadly that did not result in directions to the Capitol.

  16. #16 |  Mo | 

    #12: I think he means they are real names of his contacts, but fake combinations. So he has friends with the last names of Booksbaum, Harev and Ridenhour and friends with first names of Ron, Anna-Genelle and Mirium, but no friends with those specific combinations of names.

    BTW, if I were the attorney in the Siri false advertising suit against Apple, that website would be bookmarked for the trial. I would just ask the Apple representative to ask Siri to “Remind me to put the gazpacho on ice in an hour” and laugh all the way to the bank.

  17. #17 |  J-Man | 

    #6 Burgers Allday

    I hope you get a response from Vallejo PD. Let us know if anything happens.

    #11 Bob

    The Public Safety Unions dictate, and the City Council majority codifies. Personnel and benefits for current and retired employees still take up the lion’s share of the budget

    – May 2012: Vallejo voters approve Parcel Tax increase for parks/open space
    – Nov. 2011: Vallejo voters approve Sales Tax increase; re-elect Mayor
    – Nov. 2011: Vallejo voters approve Marijuana Tax; DEA/State/VPD take action

    Very, very unfortunate…

  18. #18 |  Eric | 

    That healthcare discussion was much better than I expected. One thing that was missing, and that is critical to the discussion, is that for a high percentage of insured patients cost of treatment and medical necessity is only tangibly relevant to them.

    I pay the same co-pay no matter what doctor I go to, and I don’t pay for anything above that. If I have a deductible (for example, $500 on ER visits) I know it will be immediately eaten up once I walk through the door. So there’s zero incentive for me to even ask what the price is for the procedures or the pills that the doctor calls for. And if I am only paying for it in the most indirect sense (i.e. adding to my employer’s overall bill and thus theoretically bringing my future wages down) I have no problem at all being over-treated. Yes, go ahead and run that expensive test to rule out the .5% chance of a rare genetic mutation. I’ll never see the bill.

    If we had a more pronounced shift to HSAs, where the employer gives you a pot of money and you pay for basic care with your own dollars, I’d bet people would start to care a lot more about where their own money goes and costs would come down pretty quickly.

  19. #19 |  Bob | 

    #17: J-Man

    The Public Safety Unions dictate, and the City Council majority codifies.

    Yup! That’s how it works. And if the City Council majority gets uppity and decides otherwise, than the NEW City Council majority will know to toe the line.

    The only workable solution is bankruptcy. Fight to eliminate ALL sources of municipal income and force the system to collapse in on itself. Unfortunately, if that strategy is successful the result will be cyclic expansion (when out of bankruptcy.) coupled with mass layoffs when the collapse occurs. Result? A ghost town. Which is where Vallejo is going.

    The sustainable solution is to eliminate pensions and peg salaries to similar private sector jobs. A driver working at a private company doesn’t get a pension outside of their “401K plan”, why should a driver for the city get one?

  20. #20 |  MasterP | 

    Did you see Patterico’s post today? Apparently, he was the victim of a prank SWAT call and had a SWAT team come to his house guns drawn. As much as Patterico has been a bit of a douche nozzle in the past, what he and his family went through was terrible.

    Hopefully, 1. They catch the person(s) responsible for this and 2. He will have more empathy for those similarly victimized in the past.

  21. #21 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    @18 – And anyone poor with a complex condition is screwed. That’s where the French system really scores, since you pick up most of routine bills (unless you specifically pay extra for that), but more complex conditions won’t bankrupt you.

    Alternatively, sure, there’s the model where you don’t see the bills at all, and it’s done on clinical priority.

  22. #22 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Those are my kind of cows!

  23. #23 |  stickrouse | 

    The language article.

    “Ninety-nine percent of people would do that, even if I offer $2,200 or nothing.”

    I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen a paper that shows people being that risk averse.

  24. #24 |  EBL | I only wish he treated our precious tax dollars like this!

  25. #25 |  V | 

    “TC: The core question is do you trust markets or government? I know markets aren’t perfect. They fail sometimes. But the question is, for me, one of philosophy. Do you trust market forces where you have the regulation you need to work more efficiently and at less cost than a state-run program? And every time, I’ll bet on markets in a true, protected, regulated environment to beat government agencies over time. And they have! Give me an example where properly regulated markets did worse than the government.

    EK: Are there any international systems you admire?

    TC: Yeah, the Swiss. They’re a combo of a socialistic system and a free-market system. Everybody has to buy.”

    You trust market systems where everyone is, by federal regulation, forced to participate? Okay. I can work with that.

  26. #26 |  World’s Strangest | Cows Crash Party, Drink Up Beer | 

    […] -via The Agitator | Photo: Boxford […]

  27. #27 |  Linda | 

    Bankrupt California town also recently in the news for Puppycide of crime victims dog. (as reported here earlier)