Morning Links

Friday, June 15th, 2012
  • This USA Today investigation is just mind-blowing. The quotes from DOJ officials are just surreal. There are innocent people in prison, everyone knows it, yet the government won’t work to get them out, due to “procedure.” Just when you think you’ve seen every way the criminal justice system can screw someone over . . .
  • Headline of the day.
  • Government is just another word for the things we do together, like setting up staged drug buys at a concert venue, then arresting the venue’s owner, imprisoning him, and taking his property from himbecause he didn’t do enough to stop the staged drug buys.
  • How your tax dollars helped the Obama administration pay off the auto unions.
  • Hard to even know where to begin with this story.
  • Ten commercials directed by Wes Anderson.
  • Indian skeptic shows that the “miracle water” dripping from a crucifix, which Indian Catholics were drinking, was actually sewage. Naturally, he was arrested for this.

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90 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Aresen | 

    Minnechaug High School junior Christopher Steil assails anti-drug efforts, calls drug availability “unbelievable”

    Christopher Steil needs:

    1) To smoke some really good pot.
    2) To get laid.

    # 1) Shouldn’t be difficult.
    # 2) Appears very unlikely.

  2. #2 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    RE: Camp Zoe…

    Disturbing story all around, but THIS was an excellent, excellent observation:

    “Rush Limbaugh’s net worth is estimated to be in excess of $400 million, and his annual income more $30 million. He owns several homes and a number of private aircraft. He was certainly a ripe target for prosecution and “asset forfeiture” – or he would have been, had he been a commoner like Jimmy Tebeau, rather than the politically connected grandson of retired federal Judge Rush Hudson Limbaugh Sr., whose name is affixed to the courthouse where the entertainer’s cousin consummated the theft of Tebeau’s business and property.

    So basically it’s 2012 and the feds still want to fuck with anybody that seems at all “counter cultural.” But Mr. Pill Poppin’ dittos himself got a break. He’s “sick,” after all. Not that Limbaugh deserved prosecution, but still.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could at least pick and choose where we want our tax dollars to go. If we were given this choice, I bet law enforcement would have a lot less money to throw at this ridiculous drug war. Sure there are still hard-core anti-drug people out there, but I don’t think the government is at all “speaking for us” when it engages in this atrocious conduct.

  3. #3 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “A student at Minnechaug Regional High School has written a letter stating that the high school has a drug problem that it is not doing enough to address.”

    What an irritating story. Seems Christopher has gulped down a whole bunch of statist D.A.R.E.-style kool aid. Wait till Christopher goes to college and gets caught with a dime bag. Won’t be so funny if HE gets kicked out of school, incarcerated or shot in the face while making a “furtive” gesture. I don’t know whether too feel sorry for this kid or to call him a sniveling little bitch.

  4. #4 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    The “payoffs” gave superior status in bankruptcy court to the pension funds. Calling this a pay off to the union is ludicrous.

    Let me see: “Obama puts Boyd Durkin ahead of all creditors—thus ignoring all bankruptcy procedures. Boyd contributes more money than anyone else to Obama.”

    You’re right. Seems legit, crzyb0b.

  5. #5 |  omar | 

    I have actually watched a handler pull a dog off a bookbag while the owner stood sobbing in the hallway outside. At the end, it was announced no drugs had been found. Officials don’t want drugs found in their schools and, in most cases, local law enforcement will follow that line.

    Is it possible that the kid was scared and the cops only found a lunch?

    I’m sorry, but if you are getting paid walk around schools with a drug dog sniffing bags with the stated purpose of finding drugs, you don’t get a pass for not wanting to find them. If you didn’t want to find drugs, you would quit your evil fucking job.

  6. #6 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    So…you don’t want to cover busted pensions when a company files for bankruptcy?

    That’s called “insurance”. Although Warren Buffet and I disagree on tax policy, we both seem to think there might just be a chance that private businesses can actually supply insurance services. Why, an investor might be able to make a fine living investing in such insurance companies.

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    In defense of Christopher Steil: the kid has a right to expect a school relatively free from drugs since that is what is being promised to him on a daily basis. It is also the subject of numerous actions (such as drug searches). The clowns in charge need to face the music of their failure.

    Kudos to him for saying “Look, fuckers, nothing you do works.”

  8. #8 |  perlhaqr | 

    I have to agree with crazybob…we were always going to be on the hook for the pension payout

    Nonsense. It’s a law passed by congress. Congress can repeal it, too.

    What, you think I’m supposed to care about people who want to use the government to extract money from me? Fuck them. You make a deal with the devil, don’t be surprised when you end up in hell.

  9. #9 |  celticdragonchick | 

    What, you think I’m supposed to care about people who want to use the government to extract money from me? Fuck them. You make a deal with the devil, don’t be surprised when you end up in hell.

    This is why libertarians can’t have nice things. The whole “fuck everybody else” attitude towards society means most of society returns the contempt.

  10. #10 |  nigmalg | 

    This is why libertarians can’t have nice things. The whole “fuck everybody else” attitude towards society means most of society returns the contempt.

    They can return the contempt all they want. If their hand is in my pocket, I have every right to complain.

  11. #11 |  Len | 

    celticdragonchick, you lack reading comprehension (or intentionally read what you want into others comments).

    perlhaqr did not say “fuck everybody else”, he said fuck those who want to use government (force) to extract (steal) money from others. It’s a very legitimate response to those who intend harm to someone, no matter how prettied up it is with the trappings of legitimacy.

    You are also a little unclear on what “society” is. It is not just a mass of people who live in proximity to each other, society is what occurs through consensual interaction with others, not imposed rules. The word society actually derives from a word meaning ally or friend. Your “society” is some collective where certain special ones get to impose order on everyone for some great end or purpose.

  12. #12 |  RobSmalls | 

    This is why libertarians can’t have nice things. The whole “fuck everybody else” attitude towards society…

    It’s not everybody else – it’s people that use the coercive power of government that can go get fucked. Libertarians tend to value the power of voluntary transfers, which tend to overcome any “fuck everyone else” attitude you ascribe to them, because they have to give and take, compromise, reach an accord to transact.

    No such give and take when the tax man gets involved. I would go so far as to say that if you need the government to point a gun at someone else to fund something you feel is worthy, you’re probably the one with a “fuck everyone else” state of mind.

  13. #13 |  James D | 

    Someone really needs to remind a good portion of this country that you are only guaranteed the “PURSUIT of happiness” …. not just “happiness”.

  14. #14 |  Radley Balko | 

    The whole “fuck everybody else” attitude towards society means most of society returns the contempt.

    Yes, it’s pretty heartless of us libertarians to object to taxpayer subsidies for GM workers barely scraping by on $56/hour in compensation. With guaranteed hours.

    I mean, the poor things even had to scrap the program that continued to pay them those wages when they decided to stop working.

    The horror! I mean, what sort of Christmas presents will their children get this year?

  15. #15 |  Radley Balko | 

    celticdragonchick:

    So the unions get to negotiate outrageous pensions and limousine health plans, and if their demands make labor costs so unsustainable so as to drive their employers into bankruptcy, your argument is that we taxpayers should come bail them out . . . or else they will burn our cities and kill us.

    Jesus. Talk about a sense of entitlement. And keep that in mind next time someone accuses the Tea Party of violent rhetoric.

  16. #16 |  BamBam | 

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2012/06/international-treaty-negotiated-in-secret-even-hiding-the-terms-from-congressmen-with-every-reason-to-see-them-threatens-to-destroy-national-sovereignty.html

    more Obama transparency; I say Obama only because he campaigned on unprecedented White House transparency

  17. #17 |  Dana Gower | 

    @ #55
    Is it possible that the kid was scared and the cops only found a lunch?

    Possible? Sure. The kid was definitely scared. As for a drug dog finding lunch? Not likely. Drug dogs look for drugs. I’m familiar with the discussions about false alerts on this site, and I’ll readily agree that a dog might alert if his handler wants him to. But put drugs in three backpacks, scatter them across the floor with seven other backpacks, let the dog in (without his handler) and he’ll hit the right three every time. It’s not the dogs that choose not to find drugs.

    @ #57 The clowns in charge need to face the music of their failure.

    The point is, they won’t. Parents will sing their praises for running a school free of drugs — whether it really is or not. The kids know the truth.

  18. #18 |  ShelbyC | 

    @H. Reardon, I say presumably because when the Justice Department brought the cases in the first place, it convinced the courts that the defendants’ conduct was illegal. So the defendants are certainly innocent under one possible interpretation of the law, but they are guilty under another. And unfortunately for them, they are guilty under the interpretation that applies to their case. I don’t see it as being much different than a defendant being convincted under the interpretation of the law in one circuit, and another defendant getting off under a different interpreatation of the same law in a different circuit, except here we are talking about timeframes instead of circuits.

  19. #19 |  Jamie | 

    Yikes. The UAW would have been better off if the pensions had been invested in a separate entity, thus untouchable. It was contractually agreed to, and they could have done that. Live and learn.

    Weak deflection or no, licking Jamie Dimon’s ass the (ahem) whole time doesn’t give me much confidence either. Pick your poison – front-runners and skimmers, or smelly people who make something.

    As for dude who doesn’t like his peers playing with drugs, well, welcome to life. White flight, I guess, ain’t what it used to be. Although I doubt it was then, because it certainly wasn’t 25 years ago, at least in my (then) locale.

  20. #20 |  Personanongrata | 

    •Headline of the day.

    Todays lesson(s) learned: always cook your squid well-done.

  21. #21 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Dana,
    That has not been my experience with parents. A very vocal group of parents at most schools (at least) tend to be harsh critics/skeptics of what the admin is producing. School Board meetings are confrontational more often than not.

  22. #22 |  Jamie | 

    Radley @65:

    The unions made a deal. With management. If you want to worry about this, perhaps sparing a thought to management might be worth one. I, for one, would be in favor of a “most favored nation” clause, wherein any deal agreed to mirrored (in structure, if not amount) management’s compensation. Note that I’m not talking about investors.

    If you want to talk about pitchforks, history isn’t fair, but it is instructive. Humans don’t seem to mind oligarchy until it gets out of whack.

  23. #23 |  Personanongrata | 

    •Indian skeptic shows that the “miracle water” dripping from a crucifix, which Indian Catholics were drinking, was actually sewage. Naturally, he was arrested for this.

    Where is Mike Bloomberg when you need him?

  24. #24 |  Dana Gower | 

    @#70 School Board meetings are confrontational more often than not.

    I’d love to try an experiment. I don’t know how many people who read this site regularly have (or had) school-age kids. I’d like to ask anyone who does (or did) if they ever attended a school board meeting. If so, why? How many other (non-school) people were there?

  25. #25 |  Other Sean | 

    Jamie,

    “The unions made a deal. With management.”

    You might have half a case if this had been first auto industry bailout. But long before 2009, both management and labor in Detroit knew they were playing a game of too-big-to-fail with taxpayers as the only and inevitable source of rescue.

  26. #26 |  Other Sean | 

    Dana #73,

    No kids for me. I’m afraid having some might turn me into one of those former libertarians who seeks to socialize the burdens of parenting by supporting laws he once evaded and despised.

  27. #27 |  StrangeOne | 

    @ Dana #67,

    Here in NC, I believe Durham, they took drug dogs through a high school. Pulled the kids out of class forced them to sit in the hall while they made a big show of searching the lockers.

    The dogs “signaled” on 23 lockers. Not one of them had drugs in it. Now did the dogs actually signal or did the cops just get a list of lockers from the admins and made sure the “right students” got searched? I don’t know, neither do you, nor does anyone else.

    The point is that assuming that the dogs are good at their job, outside of the context of their job, is dangerous business. You state that the dogs can successful find drugs without their handler, but in the real world are they never without their handler. Furthermore has this infallibility on the part of the dogs ever been demonstrated? How often are they tested in a double blind environment? Do their skills deteriorate after 1 year in the field? What about 3, 5, and 7 years?

    This is a problem endemic to police work. How often are radar guns and breathalyzers tested and re-calibrated? In many places, never. All of these things provide police with an air of certainty, we are supposed to rely on the impartiality of the dogs or technology. But the practical result is one of handing the police a dowsing rod and simply allowing them to search, detain, or arrest anyone they point it at.

  28. #28 |  CyniCAl | 

    I think we can assume that celticdragonchick’s recent conspicuous absence means it knows it lost. Back to the statist swamp, I guess.

  29. #29 |  celticdragonchick | 

    or else they will burn our cities and kill us.

    Maybe you need to go back and read the rest of the post I left where I discuss that. History is a convenient tool to understand what large groups of people do when they feel they have been deprived of a lot of compensation. When it comes to labor movements who are already organized and embittered…it may not be pretty.

    You want to play hardball with them, they play hardball back.

    Even if nothing really destructive happens, you still have significant social costs and tax payer costs that YOU CANNOT GET OUT OF PAYING!

    Sorry, but there it is. You defend the pensions, then you pay to put the geezer and his wife in a public funded retirement home with social security. Mutilply that by thousands, and then add in the food stamp and other issues.

    You still pay.

    *shrug*

    If you don’t want to be in a society with a social safety net and where the public comes to your rescue when bad things happen, you can always find another place with different social rules. Beats me. I’m all for going after abusive cops, power drunk judges and wasteful spending. I don’t consider this wasteful in the same way that I don’t think it is wasteful that bank accounts are guarenteed by the government up t a certain amount.

  30. #30 |  Matt | 

    You want to play hardball with them, they play hardball back.

    So, let me get this straight. A private organization (GM) enters into a contract with another private organization (UAW). GM makes promises that it can’t keep to the UAW. Your solution to this is to get a third party to rob individuals unrelated to this of their hard-earned money to fulfill GM’s diamond-encrusted promises to the UAW. And you consider NOT robbing these people (who had nothing to do with the private agreement) to be “playing hardball” and that we should expect retaliation from the parasites that want to rob people via a third party to fatten their own wallets?

    Am I misrepresenting your position here?

  31. #31 |  Other Sean | 

    Matt,

    “…A private organization (GM) enters into a contract with another private organization (UAW)…”

    I of course agree with the main thrust of your comment, but we should never pretend that GM and UAW are private organizations in any meaningful sense. One is a rent-seeking monster kept alive by bailouts, entry barriers, regulatory capture, and various levels of trade protectionism. The other is an extortionist political machine whose only aim is to constantly improve its margin of plunder from the revenues of the first.

    Together they share total ownership of two United States Senators, along with a number of Congressmen.

    There is nothing “private” about either organization.

  32. #32 |  Radley Balko | 

    celticdragonchick:

    So you’re saying that any time any company goes under, or goes bankrupt, taxpayers should step in to fund the employees’ pensions and promised health care benefits?

    Come to think of it, I had some promised 401(k) contributions and student loan help that vanished when the dot-com I was working for in the late 90s went under. Why shouldn’t taxpayers step up and give me what I was promised?

    Should taxpayers also fund the gold-plated retirement packages promised to the executives after they drive a company into the ground?

    Or is it only unions that get the privilege of taxpayer-guaranteed benefits?

  33. #33 |  Mattocracy | 

    Don’t be surprised when taxpayers play hardball and say no fucking way are we flipping the bill for this.

    Seriously, the UAW isn’t being given just enough so it’s members are going to avoid poverty in their old age. They negotiated enormous payouts that weren’t sustainable at all. If this was really about just taking care of people when they retire, they wouldn’t have played their part in bankrupting General Motors.

  34. #34 |  Delta | 

    #52: “‘asset forfeiture’… Wouldn’t it be great if we could at least pick and choose where we want our tax dollars to go. If we were given this choice, I bet law enforcement would have a lot less money to throw at this ridiculous drug war.”

    Of course, asset forfeiture is precisely the police-state’s solution for when the community insufficiently funds them through taxes.

  35. #35 |  Other Sean | 

    Helmut #52,

    As a matter of politics, the more groups which receive asset forfeiture money, the longer the practice of asset forfeiture will continue.

    Let that cash start going to children’s hospitals or widows of combat veterans, and the drug war will never end.

  36. #36 |  seen isle | 

    “Or is it only unions that get the privilege of taxpayer-guaranteed benefits?”

    Definitely not just unions. Corporate America has gotten way more in from taxpayer bailouts than unions could ever hope to.

  37. #37 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    #85 Other Sean:
    “Let that cash start going to children’s hospitals or widows of combat veterans, and the drug war will never end.”

    That’s a good point. But let’s keep that on the down low, because there are plenty of drug warriors cynical enough to implement that policy. Shhhh.

  38. #38 |  Other Sean | 

    Don’t worry. Drug warriors receive special conditioning by means of the Ludovico Technique, which makes them suffer extreme physical discomfort whenever they come into contact with any thoughtful commentary on drugs and crime policy.

    The Agitator is safe from their eyes.

  39. #39 |  Dana Gower | 

    @#77 The dogs “signaled” on 23 lockers. Not one of them had drugs in it.

    That’s sort of my point — 23 lockers, no drugs found. There are many possibilities here: The dog(s) just screwed up; some kid came to school that morning, put drugs in his locker, got them out for lunch and the dog alerted on it that afternoon; or, just maybe, there were drugs in at least some of the 23 lockers, the dogs alerted on them and, at the end of the search, “no drugs were found.” I have seen this. This happens.
    As far as the dogs simply wearing out — yes. Some people get upset that a trained dog starts at about $10,000 and then retires in five years, but the point is, they wear out. New, young dogs are brought in.
    You mention radar, etc., but I was talking about dogs. A well-trained drug dog is pretty good at finding drugs. Has anybody verified that? Yes. Some handlers, on the other hand, probably do try too hard to find drugs, or an excuse to find drugs, and the dogs mysteriously alert when there are no drugs. That’s not the dog’s fault.
    And I have noticed there has been, pretty much, a dead silence to my question about school board meetings. That’s because nobody (I know, that’s a little bit of a stretch, but, realistically, nobody) goes to school board meetings.

  40. #40 |  Very good lines - Overlawyered | 

    […] taking his property from him because he didn’t do enough to stop the staged drug buys.” [Radley Balko] […]